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PBA: Barako, Aces eye playoffs

Barako Bull and Alaska dispute the second playoff berth even as defending champion Star and Rain or Shine meet in a vital duel as the PBA Governors’ Cup holds a rare doubleheader today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Energy Cola and the Aces collide in the first game of the Petron Saturday Special at 3 p.m. with the winner joining the league-leading San Miguel Beermen in the next phase of the season-ending conference.

Both teams share identical 6-2 records for a joint tie for second place. Alaska is coming off an 89-75 win over Meralco while Barako is reeling from a shock 71-68 defeat to expansion team Kia.

Then it will be the turn of the Hotshots and Elasto Painters to boost their own playoff bids when they meet in the second game at 5:15 p.m.

The Hotshots, holding the solo eighth position at 3-4, have won their last two games, including an 89-82 victory over their sibling rival Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday.

The Painters, on the other hand, bucked a 1-4 start with three straight victories to move in a share of 5th to 7th with the Globalport Batang Pier and the Meralco Bolts.

ROS survived losing a 29-point lead to escape with a 106-102 win over NLEX last Wednesday, but that near-meltdown seems to have little effect on the team’s confidence.

“Our problem in the past was our chemistry, but our team has shown a lot of improvement since our last four starts. Maganda na yung pinakikita ng mga players, lalo ng mga locals,” said Guiao. (Waylon Galvez)