4 teams try to keep heads above water
TEAMS in danger of getting booted out plunge to action as they are expected to fight dearly for their tournament lives in the resumption of the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
Phoenix (4-4) will try to move its way up and keep in step with teams above it, while Meralco (2-6) is in desperation mode and badly needs a win to keep its hopes alive as the teams test each other out at 4:30 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.
The nightcap is equally as important as inconsistent teams TNT KaTropa (4-5) and GlobalPort (3-4) also need victories to help their sagging chances of making the top eight when they face each other at 7 p.m.
All four teams are currently in the lower half of the ladder and they are very much aware that a win or a loss at this point can go a long way and might eventually dictate their fate ahead.
“We’re not yet in panic mode yet, but at this point, there’s no room for much error as well,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.
“I’m anxious with where we are at but it’s still a fair game. We still have control,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas.
“We’re back to the drawing board. That’s how we’re taking it. It’s been a tough conference for us but we still have a chance,” added Meralco coach Norman Black.
Only the top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals, while the bottom four will be eliminated.
Among these four teams playing, only Phoenix is coming off a win in its last game after it squeaked past TNT, 74-72, last week.
Meanwhile, fan voting for the PBA All-Star spectacle begins this week to determine the players suiting up in the annual event this coming May.
The balloting formally opens simultaneously through online and at the various playing venue on Friday.
Voting will briefly end after the semifinals of the Philippine Cup, but resumes thereafter through the first week of the elimination round of the Commissioner’s Cup.
The mid-season classic goes island-hopping again this year with Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao hosting a leg each from May 23 to 27.
This marks the second straight time the league will tour around Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao for the All-Star week following the tremendous success of the same formula adopted last year when Gilas Pilipinas battled three All-Star teams, each parading players representing the three major islands in the country.
The national team, then preparing for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship and the FIBA Asia Cup, drew with the Mindanao All-Stars, before winning the leg against the Luzon and Visayas All-Stars.
The side events such as the slam dunk, three-point shootout, and the obstacle challenge were all held in the Luzon leg.