Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Kia
7 p.m. – Talk ’N Text vs Purefoods
Manila, Philippines – PBA Grand Slam champion Purefoods Star tries to solidify its bid of a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinal playoffs when it battles Talk ‘N Text today in the Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game is at 7 p.m. with Purefoods, already out of the race for the automatic semifinal berth, hoping to improve its 5-4 win-loss record in the middle standings.
Meralco and expansion team Kia collide in the 4:15 p.m. opener.
League leaders Alaska (8-1), San Miguel Beer (8-1), and Rain or Shine (7-2) are the only teams on track for that two outright slots in the semis.
The third to 10th teams will also qualify to the playoffs, with the third to sixth qualifiers gaining twice-to-beat bonuses versus the seventh to 10th teams in the crossovers quarterfinals.
The four winners will advance in another knockout match to determine the remaining two semifinalists. The semifinal round will be a best-of-seven showdown this all-Filipino conference.
Still in the hunt for that twice-to-beat bonus are Talk ’N Text (6-3), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Purefoods Star (5-4), Globalport (5-5) and Meralco (4-5).
TNT has won its last two games both at the Alonte Gym in Binan, Laguna, first beating Barako Bull (122-106) and then surviving a late charge by expansion team Blackwater (90-80) in the last Petron Saturday Special.
Grand Slam champion Purefoods, on the other hand, is nursing an 83-74 loss from Rain or Shine last Sunday at the Big Dome that snapped the Hotshots’ four-game win streak.
“We expect a tough game against Talk ’N Text,” said Purefoods mentor Tim Cone. “Both our teams are hoping to improve for that twice-to-beat in the playoffs, so it’s going to be a tough game.”
Meralco is another team that is aiming to still get that quarterfinal incentive.
While the Bolts have dropped their last two games, against Purefoods (77-74) and San Miguel (88-77) last week, Meralco coach Norman Black remains positive about his team’s chances to get a twice-to-beat.
“It’s a must win situation because it’s our last chance to stay in the running for the twice-to-beat advantage,” said Black.
“Kia showed in there last game versus Purefoods, they can compete with any team so we must be ready. Handling their defensive pressure and our ability to stop their running game will be the keys for us,” he added.
Kia coach Manny Pacquiao, who suited up against Purefoods but did not play after beating Chris Algieri in their welterweight title match last Sunday in Macau, will be in uniform again and is expected to play.