Talk ‘N Text is hoping it would finally complete the job as it returns to action today, playing sister team NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA Philippine Cup at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center powered by Smart 5G in Angeles City.
The Tropang Giga will try to nail their sixth straight victory at the expense of the Road Warriors, who they will meet in the 6:45 p.m. main offering of an interesting double-header that will also see two resurgent teams in Phoenix and Alaska battling in the first tussle at 4 p.m.
The Tropang Giga, who have been led by Ray Parks and RR Pogoy, have been on top of the heap with 5-0 slate, and another win today will finally propel them to the quarterfinal round ahead of everybody in the bubble that drew and continues to draw much attention after an unnamed player from Blackwater has been reported to be afflicted with the dreaded coronavirus days ago.
TNT had a crack at picking up its sixth win last Monday at the expense of NorthPort and make its entry into the next round assured, but the game had also been postponed since the Tropang Giga had previously played the Elite.
TNT has never won the prestigious conference again since winning it during the 2012-2013 season, and it looks like the Tropang Giga are showing signs of their readiness to end their seven-year drought.
However, first things first, at least that’s how TNT coach Bong Ravena sees the situation they are in, and that all they want at this moment is to make the next round.
“Iyun talaga target namin sa ngayon, ang makapasok muna sa quarterfinals,” said Ravena. “Then, we will continue to try and win more games para makapasok sa top four, possibly be even No. 1.”
Still, Ravena sees positive things in their postponed game versus the Batang Pier, stressing the PBA move was meant for the best of everybody in the bubble.
“We understand naman na itong mga measures na ginawa done to uphold ‘yung integrity nitong bubble,” he said. “Para sa kapakanan naman ng lahat ito, eh.”
NLEX has lost two straight after chalking up its first win, and that should give the Road Warriors great motivation in the game because losing this one might put them in danger of missing out the playoffs.
“We all know how important this game is for both of us. They beat us in the last conference so we cannot relax. We have to go out and get it,” stressed Ravena.
The effect, meanwhile, continued to hound the Elite, with the PBA postponing their scheduled meeting with Magnolia Hotshots yesterday, pending the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The hottest team at this moment is definitely Phoenix, which is riding on back-to-back wins as it tackles the Aces. The Fuel Masters beat Magnolia, 91-84, last October 23, then went hotter as they demolished NLEX, 114-110, last Monday when Calvin Abueva had an explosive game of 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in his return to the PBA after serving a 16-month suspension.
The Phoenix’s newfound drive should give the Aces something to think over in the game, more so since the Fuel Masters are focused to take this one to make the next round right away without any problem.
The return of Abueva added depth to Phoenix, whose frontline is already formidable with the presence of Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins and Justin Chua.
The Alaska staff may have seen how Abueva made a sampling of his prowess.
“First of all, I’m happy that Calvin’s back,” said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso following his Aces’ 99-96 decision over Terrafirma just last Tuesday.
“But it is what it is. We’re in a situation where his teammates were already playing well, they’ve added Calvin who gives them that extra spark so we’re gonna have our hands full,” added Cariaso.
“Again our focus is to prepare for them, for us to be ready. Hindi naman nag-iiba preparations namin, kasama siya sa preparation. We’re scouting him like we scout other players.”