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Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City)
4:30 p.m. – Mahindra vs Meralco
6:45 p.m. – Star vs TNT KaTropa
Star fights for survival today when it clashes with league-leading TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Sporting a 2-7 win-loss card and just a heartbeat from the cellar, the Hotshots need to win against TNT and their last game to remain relevant in the race for the last four slots to the next round.
Star is fresh from a thrilling 104-103 win against Meralco last Sunday, which snapped five-game losing skid that kept the Hotshots in the playoff race for the eighth and last playoff spot.
The victory was the first for Star import Joel Wright after the team went 0-4 with him since he replaced former two-time Best Import winner Marqus Blakely. Wright collected 27 points and 14 rebounds.
The locals also stepped up as PJ Simon scored 16 points, Marc Pingris added 15 points with nine rebounds, while Allein Maliksi and Mark Barroca contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively.
More than keeping their playoff hopes alive, Star rookie head coach Jason Webb stressed the importance of believing in each other as the key in the squad’s quest to advance.
“I don’t know how much chances we have,” said Webb. “The most important thing is that guys continue to believe in each other. All credit goes to all the veterans, all the guys. It was a total team effort… all of them contributed something important.”
“Maybe there is a chance, maybe, we don’t care. We still have a 0.1 percent chance, it’s still better than nothing,” he said.
In their last game, the Hotshots played without ace guard James Yap, the former two-time MVP who missed the game with a hip contusion, and forward Ian Sanglang – out with a knee injury.
Yap is expected to miss the game anew, while Sangalang is day-to-day.
“We have the smallest chance to make it, kami naman may kasalanan nito. In all honesty we thought we’re out (already),” said Webb as he expects a tough game with TNT.
At 8-1, the Texters are already assured of a quarterfinal spot and a twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs. TNT has won its previous two, beating defending champion San Miguel Beer (105-85) and Globalport (122-120). (Waylon Galvez)