(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. --NorthPort vs. Meralco
7 p.m. --San Miguel vs. Phoenix
IN A battle between two teams desperately trying to stay alive, Meralco and NorthPort square off in a crucial battle in the PBA Governors Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bolts, 1-5, the Batang Pier, 1-6, take the floor at 4:30 p.m. today with the winner moving up one notch higher with the 12-team elimination round fast coming to an intersting end.
But although both teams are facing a must-win situation in the season-ending, import-flavored tournament, the Bolts and the Batang Pier appear headed to different directions.
After winning their first game, the Bolts and coach Norman Black have lost five straight games.
The Batang Pier and coach Pido Jarencio, on the other hand, finally chalked up a breakthrough win against Columbian Dyip to end an alarming six-game losing skid.
“Simply put it’s a battle between two teams trying to stay alive in the playoff hunt so it’s an important game,” said Black.
Added Black: “NorthPort can be an explosive team so our defense will have to be ready.”
Jarencio, who hopes to instill his trademark never-say die atttitude to his players, said the Batang Pier will be a more confident team following their win over the Dyip.
“Basta kami, one game at a time lang. Bahala na kung saan tayo mapupunta,” said Jarencio.
“Meralco is also struggling. Parehas lang kami, kaya hilahan na lang kami pababa.”
Jarencio said Stanley Pringle, Sean Anthony, Mo Tautuaa and import Rashad Woods are now in good shape to keep the Batang Pier’s chances alive.
The 7 p.m. encounter will pit Phoenix against San Miguel Beer.
Now on their eighth conference in Asia’s first play-for-pay league, the Louie Alas-mentored Fuel Masters are installed as one of the top favorites with a 6-2 win-loss record.
“I like our situation now,” said Alas, who celebrated his 55th birthday with a 123-97 win over NLEX last Wednesday.
Clearly the main reasons for Phoenix’s resurgence are import in Eugene Phelps, who delivered a double-doube of 51 points and 20 rebounds and Calvin “The Beast” Abueva, who had provided inspiration to the team with his relentless energy on both ends of the floor.
But the Fuel Masters expect another tough outing against the Beermen.