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TNT seeks vital win; Tiu staying

By Jonas Terrado

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs TNT KaTropa
6:45 p.m. – San Miguel vs Magnolia

TNT KaTropa and Magnolia could enter today’s final elimination round doubleheader in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with more urgency to beat their respective opponents at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The result of Friday’s match between Alaska and Phoenix will play a factor in the quarterfinal seeding of TNT and Magnolia’s quest to reach the next phase of the midseason tournament as they face Rain or Shine and San Miguel, respectively, in the Petron Saturday Special matches.

TNT meets Rain or Shine in the first game at 4:30 p.m. before Magnolia takes on San Miguel at 6:45 p.m. in the first meeting of both teams since their title showdown in the Philippine Cup last April.

A victory over Phoenix will assure Alaska of the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, forcing TNT to play a best-of-three series in the said round.

Alaska and TNT were tied at 7-3 before Friday’s doubleheader at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The result will also be favorable for Magnolia since it will give them, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and GlobalPort for the final three quarterfinal berths. The three teams were tied at 5-5 at presstime.

But an Alaska loss opens the door for TNT to snatch the twice-to-beat incentive with a win over Rain or Shine while putting Magnolia in a precarious situation to prevail over San Miguel.

Phoenix entered Friday’s contest in ninth place at 4-6, needing a victory to force a playoff for the No. 8 seed on Monday.
Regardless of how complicated the scenarios are, the four teams will likely come out with a playoff-like intensity.

Though assured of the top seed and a twice-to-beat bonus, Rain or Shine (9-1) is eager to go into the quarters with momentum on its hands, especially against a TNT side which is labeled as one of the teams to beat before the conference began last April.

TNT’s Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario and Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood shift their focus back on club duties after a difficult week in which they dealt with the aftermath of Gilas Pilipinas’ role in a brawl with Australia in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last Monday.

TIU STAYING TILL END OF SEASON

Meanwhile, Chris Tiu is staying with Rain or Shine till the Governors’ Cup.

Tiu, who has a per conference contract with ROS, can “legally opt out” after the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup, but he pointed to two crucial things on his decision to play for the rest of the season.

“I don’t want to leave at this stage where we have a lot of young players and my leadership is kind of needed being one of the veterans on the team. Not just on the court, but off the court,” he said.

“I also owe it to the owners, to boss Terry Que and Raymund Yu, as well as to the coaching staff,” Tiu added.

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