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PBA: Meralco, Star out to boost ‘bonus’ bids

Games Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Star
7 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Meralco

The race for the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals is expected to get even more complicated regardless of the outcomes of Meralco and Star’s games against separate foes today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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Meralco plays GlobalPort at 7 p.m. with a chance of gaining a share of the lead with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel while Star looks to stay in the hunt for the quarterfinal bonus against winless Kia in the 4:15 p.m. opener.

No team has claimed a twice-to-beat with three playdates left in the elimination round as all but eighth-placer Blackwater can still claim the incentive given the top four teams.

Ginebra is on top of the leaderboard with a 9-2 record followed by Meralco (8-2) while San Miguel forged a three-way tie for third at 7-3 with TNT KaTropa and NLEX after posting a 109-107 win over Phoenix two days earlier at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Rain or Shine is in sixth place at 6-4 followed by Star with a 5-4 slate. Blackwater is out of the running for the twice-to-beat with its 5-5 record.

Meralco and Star are favored to roll past their struggling opponents, though GlobalPort (3-7) and Kia (0-10) are eager to close out their disappointing campaigns on a high note.

The Bolts play for the first time since last week’s 106-78 thumping of the Alaska Aces behind rookie guard Mike Tolomia, import Allen Durham and new acquisition Ranidel de Ocampo.

“We still have two games left and there’s still a lot of teams fighting so this is the time of the conference when you really need to win games. Otherwise you’re not going to get it,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, whose team ends the elims Sunday against San Miguel.

Meanwhile, Star must beat Kia and NLEX on Sunday coupled with favorable results of the other games in order to sneak in a twice-to-beat berth.

The Hotshots are hoping to regain their bearings after losing 104-99 to TNT last Sept. 17 in the first game of Icelandic import Kristofer Acox.

Star is bracing for a tough challenge from Kia, a team that nearly pulled an upset win over San Miguel only to lose 118-112.

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