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Road Warriors, Texters, Painters try to boost Top 4 bids

Jayson Castro of TNT surveys the floor in a game against sister team NLEX. | PBA Images  

Games Wednesday (Ynares-Antipolo)

4:15 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Phoenix

7 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs NLEX

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX, TNT KaTropa and Rain or Shine pursue their Top Four aspirations while Phoenix Petroleum fights for survival as they figure in a crucial double-header in the PBA Governors Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo Wednesday night.

The Elasto Painters (4-3) and the Fuel Masters (2-7) clash at 4:15 p.m. then the Road Warriors (7-2) and the Texters (5-3) face off at 7 p.m., with Phoenix and TNT hoping to draw immediate positive result from a surprise trade deal sealed Tuesday.

The Texters will now have Norbert Torres in place of Ranidel de Ocampo as they chase a spot in the Top Four and its reward of a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.

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The Fuel Masters, on the other hand, have Justin Chua in lieu of Torres (plus a future draft pick from TNT) as they try to sweep their two remaining games for a possible crack at the last berth in the Final Eight.

Meralco acquired the services of De Ocampo in the three-way trade deal.

“Last chance to catch the last bus. We’ve got to give it our all as our lives are at stake,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia.

The NLEX Road Warriors, meanwhile, vow to do their best to get past the Texters and seal a Top Four finish.

“Our mission is to get to eight wins ASAP (as soon as possible),” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao ahead of the match where they are ranged against the TNT team out to sweep its last three games also for a shot at a “win-once” advantage in the quarters.

The Road Warriors, however, are steps ahead in the race with a front-running 7-2 win-loss card that they currently share with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

“(We have) two tough games to accomplish that. TNT is the first big hurdle. We hope the RDO (Ranidel de Ocampo) trade is going to create some adjustment issues that can work to our advantage,” said Guiao.

“This is the homestretch and we need the toughness to sustain our drive,” added Guiao.

The Texters parted ways with a key player even as they’ve yet to really settle down in the tourney.

“I’ve mentioned this couples of games back, we’re unstable as a team because of a lot of things – Gilas, injuries, then Gilas again. That’s the sacrifice we had to make but it’s really tough,” said TNT coach Nash Racela after their last game.

“Di kami makabwelo. Ngayong kumpleto na, sana makabwelo na,” Racela added.

TNT KaTropa went through a win-loss-win-loss pattern before scoring a first back-to-back wins in the tourney. The Texters then lost their last game against the GlobalPort Batang Pier before bouncing back against the Meralco Bolts.

Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy rendered service to Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup before Troy Rosario took his turn to play for Team Philippines in the SEA Games.

Then came De Ocampo’s exit.

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