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Hotshots, Aces hope to pick up the pieces

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Mahindra
7 p.m. – Star vs Alaska

The Alaska Aces and Star Hotshots – their three-game winning streaks snapped before the end of 2016 – eye crucial victories that will boost their playoff chances today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Alaska and Star fell to TNT KaTropa and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, respectively, before the holiday break and are entering tonight’s 7 p.m. with identical 3-3 slates to share seventh and eighth places.

Both squads are determined to come away victorious to gain an inside track at making the eight-team quarterfinal round.

The Aces were the first team to see their run of three straight wins come to an end after bowing to TNT, 99-90, last Dec. 23 at the Philsports Arena while the Hotshots lost to Ginebra, 86-79, on Christmas Day at the Philippine Arena.

“Siguro naging overconfident din kami. Pero hindi dahil sa nag-overconfident kami di kami lalaban, hanggang dulo talagang ipinakita namin na aggressive kami,” Alaska star Calvin Abueva said after the loss.

“Malaking lesson sa amin ito kasi 3-3 kami ngayon at saka siyempre hindi pa stick ang standing namin kaya kailangan naming mag-tiyaga pa. Sa susunod kasi Star ang kalaban namin tapos di ba parang umaayos na rin ang team nila?

Siyempre kailangan namin yung paghandaan.”

New Star guard Paul Lee, on the other hand, was more positive despite losing to Ginebra since the Hotshots opened the conference with two straight losses before winning three in a row.

“Kung titingnan, bago pa rin ang team. I’m still happy na bago natapos ang taon, 3-3 kami. Yun nga lang, di lang sa gusto namin na way na mangyari to end the year,” said Lee.

The Star-Alaska is expected to overshadow the 4:15 p.m. opener between Meralco and Mahindra, teams on the bottom four that are desperate to score a win to revive their fading playoff chances.

Meralco has a 2-5 record after losing to Globalport, 97-89, last Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. In that game, the Bolts came back from 16 points down but couldn’t prevent Batang Pier star Terrence Romeo from saving his team from the jaws of defeat.

Mahindra, meanwhile, is expected to ride on the momentum of its Christmas Day overtime win over Blackwater that ended a 0-5 start.

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