Vital duels

March 12, 2019

MAGNOLIA takes on Columbian Dyip while Alaska battles NLEX as the PBA Philippine Cup enters the crucial phase of its elimination round where winning is everything for the teams.

Only last December, the Hotshots and the Aces were sharing the limelight as they fought in the finals of the Governors’ Cup.

Now, the two teams are in an entirely different situation in the kickoff conference where they need to make the most of their remaining five outings each if they are to make safe passage to the playoff round.

The Hotshots set out today for a 4:30 p.m. encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, looking to clinch a crucial win against the Dyip whose 85-82 spanking of Rain or Shine last Wednesday makes them pretty dangerous customers.

Nevertheless, it’s good that the Hotshots have some momentum to carry into the game following their 103-86 rout of the Aces last March 9 in Antipolo, but they may have to be extra cautious because of the high degree of morale that the Dyip are enjoying now.

The Dyip defeated the Elasto Painters for the fourth straight time since last conference, and that’s one good thing that’s happening right now on them – something that the Hotshots will have to watch out too before anything happens.

The Hotshots have only two wins to show in six outings and thus need to compile more wins in their last five games for a spot in the playoff.

The Aces, on the other hand, need to rebound immediately from that shattering loss to the Hotshots last Saturday to boost their own playoff drive.

Actually, the Aces, at 3-3, are still in contention for top 2 that offer the luxury of having to win only once in the playoff round

But with their injury-hit lineup, the Aces need to be as resilient as ever, disciplined and more focused on the task at hand, because they need no less than a sweep of their last five games.

Alaska coach Alex Compton admitted his Aces indeed have tough road ahead starting with their game against the Road Warriors at 7 p.m.

“NLEX is one of those teams that is always dangerous no matter what their record is,” Compton told People’s Journal yesterday.

“We know that we have to be prepared to defend the entire floor and be at our sharpest in this very important game for both teams,” added Compton.