Aces, Texters eye key wins
Coming off long breaks and contrasting fortunes, TNT KaTropa and Alaska shoot for victories against separate foes at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao Friday that would put them closer toward quarterfinal berths in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Aces, coming off their first loss that snapped a string of four straight victories 13 days ago, will battle dangerous Phoenix Petroleum in the 4:15 p.m. contest before the Texters take the fabled Big Dome floor opposite Terrence Romeo and GlobalPort at 7 p.m.
These games are important for both if they don’t want to go into the All-Star break trailing leaders San Miguel Beer and Meralco significantly, with TNT having the chance to even tie the Bolts if it sweeps its next two assignments.
The Texters will face Barangay Ginebra this Sunday.
TNT last played on April 9 and barely squeaked past the Mahindra Floodbuster, who, like the Batang Pier, are in dire need of stringing up victories to stay inside the magic circle of eight teams that will advance to the quarterfinals.
The Texters have had to scrape past their last two foes to assemble a four-game winning streak, but coach Nash Racela believes that games like those will only toughen his side for the playoffs.
“It’s good that we’re getting wins despite playing that way,” Racela, a rookie coach in the PBA, said.
TNT has also decided to stick it out with NBA veteran Donte Greene, who has shown vast improvement after a so-so debut.
Showing more willingness to bang and play harder on the defensive end, the former Memphis Grizzlies player made the most out of the long break, according to team manager Virgil Villavicencio.
“And we are winning, and that’s the most important thing,” Villavicencio said over the phone. “He (Greene) is showing great improvement, especially on the defensive end.”
There’s no doubt that the Texters have the advantage in personnel, with Jason Castro leading a crew whose core practically made up past national teams.
And that is exactly what the Batang Pier would have to contend with as they try to follow-up on a breakthrough victory. GlobalPort opened up with four straight defeats but is coming off an 85-82 win over NLEX.
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