Battle royale in PBA

March 2, 2022 Robert Andaya 805 views

MAGNOLIA Pambansang Manok and Meralco clash in the keenly-awaited battle of top teams even as NorthPort looks to extend its winning streak when it takes on Blackwater in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is 6 p.m. with the Hotshots gunning for an outright semifinals berth and a twice-to-beat advantage and the Bolts hoping to push their own bid for the same incentive.

Magnolia, 7-1, and Meralco, 6-2, are widely expected to clinch a Top Four finish against the lower-placed teams in the quarterfinals.

This will also be a rematch of their best-of-seven semifinal showdown in the last Philippine Cup won by the Hotshots, four games to two.

The Hotshots will also be riding the crest of a smashing 104-87victory over San Miguel Beer and NBA veteran Shabazz Muhammad last Sunday

Import Mike Harris and Paul Lee shared scoring honors for Magnolia, finishing with 26 points against San Miguel.

“Pinag-usapan namin yun pagkatalo sa NorthPort. We knew we had a bad start against them and athough we finished strong, kinapos pa rin. So going into this game (against San Miguel) we talked about starting strong and finishing stronger, said Magnolia coach Chito Victlero shortly after beating the Beermen.

Magnolia, however, is expected to find a tough time against Meralco.

The Norman Black-mentored Bolts are looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 93-94 setback at the hands of Alaska Milk last Saturday.

The Bolts rallied from a 17-point deficit and even took a six-point margin only to watch RK Ilagan hit the game-winning jumper for the Aces.

This will be the first time that the PBA will be back to full capacity since the outbreak of the pandemic exactly two years ago.

The decision to allow more fans to watch the games was made after NCR and other neighboring provinces have been placed under Alert Level 1 starting March 1.

The PBA strictly adhered to a 50 percent audience capacity while NCR remained under Level 2.

But PBA Commissioner Wilie Marcial said health and safety protocols will still be strictly imposed by the league as fans will still be required to present their vaccination cards along with a valid government ID.

“Siyempre, kailangan nandun pa din yung kaukulang pag-iingat,” said Marcial.

Games Wednesday:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. –NorthPort vs. Blackwater
6 p.m. — Meralco vs. Magnolia