Saturday special

April 05, 2019
Ball scramble
KINGS, HOTSHOTS: Renewing a rivalry.

A quick look at the four teams figuring in two best-of-3 series is enough to expect close,  intense action in the other half of the quarterfinal cast in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Well, it involves three teams from the San Miguel group and one from the MVP side.

San Miguel Beer and Talk ‘N Text – which met in the quarterfinal round of two conferences last season – are facing each other again in a renewed rivalry.

The Beermen defeated the KaTropa in the quarterfinals in the Philippine Cup last season in one game (they had win-once advantage for being top seed then), and then swept the latter in the best-of-3 in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Will the Beermen repeat their trick or will the KaTropa return the compliment?

That’s just for the starter, and one of them would move ominously close to their goal after today’s opening game of their brief series set at 4:30 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Equally-interesting is the other quarterfinal series pitting sister teams Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia who will rekindle their sort of rivalry dubbed as Manila Clasico.

The Gin Kings and the Hotshots collide at 6:45 p.m. in a serving as main offering of Petron Blaze Saturday Special.

The Gin Kings and the Hotshots both won import-laden championships last season, with the former taking the Commissioner’s Cup and the latter the season-ending Governors’ Cup.

Only one of them will get to continue to contend for the prestigious kickoff conference.

Already, Ginebra coach Tim Cone has issued cautions on what awaits his Gin Kings in the brief series.

“More than it being the Manila Clasico, it’s the first game of a short series, therefore that makes it crucial for both teams,” said Cone.

“We know Paul Lee and company are going to be ready so we need to be at our best,” added Cone.

The Gin Kings and the Hotshots have found themselves pitted in a rematch of their semifinal showdown last conference after they ended up No. 3 and No. 6, respectively, in the one-round-robin elimination phase.

The Gin Kings defeated the Hotshots in their lone elimination meeting, 97-93, on March 17, but that’s not a full guarantee of a repeat win. The Hotshots on the other hand defeated the Gin Kings in their last playoff matchup in the Governors’ Cup Final Four.

“I do believe we’re peaking at the right time and we’re looking forward to our battle with Ginebra,” said coach Chito Victolero.

The Hotshots are riding on the momentum of a three-game romp entering Game One of their race-to-two-games series with the Kings.

Phoenix Pulse topped the 11-game elimination and will take on number 8 which is either Alaska or NLEX – which were still disputing the final playoff slot as off press time.

The Fuel Masters need to win only once to advance to the semifinals, and so is Rain or Shine, the second seed, which plays no. 7 North Port on Sunday.