By JONAS TERRADO
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – GlobalPort vs San Miguel
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs TNT KaTropa
TNT KaTropa and defending champion San Miguel shoot for their fourth straight win when they take on separate rivals today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The KaTropa battle the struggling Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok at 7 p.m. after the Beermen play the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the 4:30 p.m. curtain raiser.
Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy of TNT, Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel and Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort may see action for their mother clubs after representing the country in the recent FIBA 3×3 World Cup at the Philippine Arena.
Rosario, Pogoy, Standhardinger and Pringle went 2-2 in the World Cup group stage, falling short of a spot in the quarterfinals after a heartbreaking loss to Canada in the Philippines’ third game last Monday.
A victory over Magnolia will formalize TNT’s entry to the quarterfinals while tying idle Rain or Shine for the top spot in the standings. The KaTropa carry a 6-1 record, having won their last three games.
Bulky import Joshua Smith hopes to provide trouble for the Magnolia frontline even as the backcourt tandem of Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo are expected to provide the chunk of offense for TNT coach Nash Racela.
Magnolia carries a 3-4 record after losing its last three games, including Sunday’s 103-99 loss to Alaska in the debut of new import Justin Jackson.
Meanwhile, San Miguel seeks to continue the turnaround from a 0-3 start and gain more momentum in its bid to claim another title this season.
But the Beermen had to weather a determined stand by the Columbian Dyip before pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 129-117 victory exactly a week ago at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
June Mar Fajardo, who dominated the Dyip for 38 points, led the charge for San Miguel alongside import Renaldo Balkman, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot.