Phoenix will be facing a desperate Meralco squad today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Fuel Masters, No. 7 with 4-4 win-loss record, are seeking for their fifth win in nine games in their 4:30 p.m. encounter against the Bolts.
TNT KaTropa will clash against the unpredictable GlobalPort in the second game at 7 p.m.
Phoenix coach Louie Alas explained the danger of facing the Bolts (2-6 win-loss record).
“It is very difficult to play against a team that is already in the brink of being eliminated. We just have to match their sense of urgency,” Alas said.
Alas added that their 74-72 win over TNT last week behind Doug Kramer’s go-ahead basket is a great morale-booster, but they must now focus on the task ahead.
“It is over and we have to move forward. We are now facing another problem in front of us. We are just focusing first on Meralco before our upcoming games against Blackwater and GlobalPort,” Alas said.
A victory by Phoenix will increase its chances of getting into the quarterfinal playoff rounds.
Meanwhile, the undermanned Meralco will take it one game at a time.
“Basically, we just need to get a win to stay alive. We have to break their pressure to score as much as we can and limit our turnovers,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Black said that injuries prevent two of his wards—Ranidel De Ocampo (calf injury) and Jared Dillinger (foot infection)—from playing against Phoenix.
“Cliff Hodge will be playing but he is not yet 100 percent,” he added.
After absorbing back-to-back losses against Phoenix and Barangay Ginebra last week, TNT hopes to bounce back in their remaining two games vs GlobalPort and Northern Luzon Expressway for a playoff spot.
“They are playing well and we need to be at our best to have a chance. Hopefully we limit the production of Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony and also be able to challenge them rebounding wise,” said TNT coach Nash Racela, whose team is carrying a 4-5 win-loss record.
The Batang Pier with a 3-4 win-loss record are hoping to bounce back from a frustrating 98-105 loss to Alaska in overtime last February 4