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Road Warriors test Ranidel-less Texters

SMB’s June Mar Fajardo (right) and Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter battle for the rebound in their game Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Beermen won, 107-103. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines — NLEX, TNT KaTropa and Rain or Shine pursue their Top Four bids 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 tonight.

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 TNT hoping a surprise trade deal sealed Tuesday. nvolving key players may work for the team.

The Texters will now have Justin Chua in place of Ranidel de Ocampo as they chase a spot in the Top Four and its twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals. TNT actually gained the rights on Norbert Torres but placed the player on the injured list.

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.

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“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.

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