3 p.m. — Bay Area vs TNT
5:45 p.m. — Terrafirma vs San Miguel
BAY Area is out to secure a coveted Top 2 seeding and twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs while TNT, with a new import in tow, is fighting for dear life.
With clear intentions, the pacesetting Dragons (9-2) and the ninth-running Tropang Giga (4-6) tangle in a crucial PBA Commissioner’s Cup tussle today at the PhilSports Arena.
“It’s an important game for them and an important game for us,” Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian said of the 3 p.m. encounter.
Also hitting the court with the same urgency and strong motivation is seventh-running San Miguel Beer (SMB) (4-5), which like TNT, is making a final push for the quarters. The Beermen gun for a pivotal fifth win in the 5:45 p.m. mainer versus Terrafirma (1-9).
The Dyip climbed out of a horrendous 25-game skid via a 124-114 overtime victory over NLEX last Friday and are now in a rare position to go back-to-back.
Mr. Goorjian braces for war versus the must-win Tropang Giga, especially with Chot Reyes at their helm.
“I go a long way with coach. I came here in the 1990s and played his team and they totally dominated us. We’ve forged a good relationship and I’m looking forward to reacquainting. He’s a man I respect and I like and I know his team’s going to be tough and prepared,” the Australian tactician said.
The Tropang Giga showed their toughness in pushing Barangay Ginebra to the limit while playing all-Filipino before yielding, 89-85, last Sunday.
TNT has since signed up European leagues veteran Matt Mobley after Cameron Oliver went down with knee sprain and sat out the Ginebra game.
“We expect Matt to be our creator and inject energy in our offense,” team manager Jojo Lastimosa said of the 6-foot-4 Mr. Mobley. “He’s not a big guy who can dominate inside but we are hoping he can make our team faster.”
The Tropang Giga also hope veteran playmaker Jayson Castro recovers fast after limping out of the Ginebra match with an ankle sprain in the third quarter.
Mr. Lastimosa said Mr. Castro is listed as “day-to-day.”
“It’s not as severe as we have anticipated but it’s still sore,” he said.
If successful in bringing down the Dragons, TNT climbs back into the Magic 8 and carries a big momentum going to its final elims assignment versus SMB on Saturday. — Olmin Leyba