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San Mig battles TNT; Ginebra faces Air21

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Mark Pingris (left) and Mark Barroca (right) are two of San Mig Coffee’s vital cogs. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Defending champion San Mig Coffee shoots for a victory that it needs to boost its playoff position as it battles an equally struggling Talk ‘N Text side today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers, who are coming off an upset 105-100 loss to Barako Bull on Sunday, battle the short-handed Tropang Texters in the second game of a doubleheader that will feature four of the five teams currently sporting five victories each.

Crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra and Air21 kick off today’s schedule at 5:15 p.m., with the Kings hoping to ride a four-game win run  against the Express, who will be coming off a 94-83 loss to Rain or Shine.

For these teams, a victory would not only keep them in the upper half of the standings—and away from a possible playoff showdown with the top two teams of the tournament—but push them two wins ahead of ninth-ranked Barako Bull.

For San Mig and Air21, losses would even be more catastrophic. Although tied with their opponents in the win column, both teams trail their foes by half a game because they both have six losses.

Only eight teams will advance to the playoffs. And the bottom two squads face a tough task there as they will face the top two teams, who will carry a twice-to-beat advantage.

As things stand, Alaska and Rain or Shine have the lead at 8-3 and are both assured that they would be playing in a best-of-three series, at least, in the quarterfinals.

Talk ‘N Text will be shooting for a victory minus Jared Dillinger and Kelly Williams, who will be out due to injuries. Dillinger will be out due to a leg injury while Williams was shut down due to the effects of a previous blood illness.

But Talk ‘N Text still boasts a vaunted local crew with former MVP Jimmy Alapag, Jason Castro and Larry Fonacier providing support to import Donnell Harvey.

San Mig, on the other hand, is getting the numbers it wants from import Denzel Bowles but inconsistent ones from its loaded local crew.

James Yap did have 22 points against the Energy on Sunday, but the other usual heavy contributors like Marc Pingris, PJ Simon and Joe Devance have continued to struggle.


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