WHO among the four teams setting out today will get back in the groove as PBA Philippine Cup elimination round resumes after a 15-day break?
Will it be Phoenix and Meralco, or NorthPort and Columbian Dyip?
These four suffered stinging setbacks days before the league took a break to give way for the national team’s campaign in the final window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers in Doha, Qatar and in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The Fuel Masters will be looking to rebound from last Feb. 10’s 98-94 overtime loss at the hands of Rain or Shine as they play Northport in the 7 p.m. main offering of an explosive doubleheader at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier absorbed two straight setbacks prior to the league’s break, their last interestingly dealt also by the Elasto Painters, 107-100, last Feb. 8.
The Fuel Masters actually drew huge game from Jason Perkins who cut loose with 27 points, but that was not enough to help them avoid falling into their first loss after a 5-0 start in the kick-off conference.
There’s a big break though coming the Fuel Masters’ way since the Batang Pier might play without Stanley Pringle and Mo Tautuaa if the PBA decides to slap them with one-game suspension each for figuring in a brawl during the NorthPort-Columbian Dyip tuneup.
The Batang Pier, at 2-2, are needing every win they could get from now on to make the playoff round.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, who was with the PBA board members in Kazakhstan when the incident happened, is likely to conduct a probe on the incident.
Based on sketchy reports, Pringle and Tautuaa were involved in the fracas that reportedly left JayR Reyes bloodied.
Before they were stopped by the Elasto Painters, the Fuel Masters defeated Meralco, TNT KaTropa, Columbian Dyip, Blackwater and NLEX in the course of their streak.
Now, the Fuel Masters’ capacity will be tested further as they will be up against the league’s heavyweights as the elimination round progresses.
Meralco and Columbian Dyip collide in the first tussle at 4:30 p.m. and both are looking to bounce back too after absorbing setbacks before the league’s break.
The Bolts fell to NLEX 87-83 last Feb. 2, while the Dyip were routed by Alaska, 94-72, last Feb. 6.
Just like the rest of the 12-team field, the Bolts and the Dyip are hard-pressed to start winning again or they find themselves stranded in the lower portion of the standings.
The Bolts are toting a 2-3 slate which is still good for eighth place while the Dyip are carrying 2-4 record, good for 10th place.