Hotshots seek Number 2 vs Batang Pier
(The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Magnolia steps up its drive for a Top Two finish while GlobalPort presses its playoff bid in a crucial tiff in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. with the Hotshots out to check a two-game slide to break off a tie with the Alaska Milk Aces at second place and the Batang Pier seeking to stoke the fire of their stirring victory over the TNT KaTropa Texters Wednesday to gain a piece of fifth place.

Blackwater and Kia slug it out earlier at 4:30 p.m., both looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

The Elite are just outside the Top Eight at 3-5 but the Picanto are buried deep down the chart with only one win against seven losses.

Magnolia and GlobalPort figure in an exciting match between two teams jockeying for position in the Top Eight.

The Hotshots, at 6-3, are a full game and a half ahead of the Batang Pier (4-4) but coach Chito Victolero and his team brace for a battle against a foe coming off a morale-boosting 99-84 triumph over the TNT KaTropa Texters.

“We have to be aggressive from start to finish. That’s our problem last game. We’re outworked by Rain or Shine,” said Victolero.

“For this game, we need to surpass the aggressiveness and effort of GlobalPort. Defensively, we need to contain their fastbreak and transition points as they keep on running the floor on every possession,” Victolero also said.

Notes: The PBA Commissioner’s Office yesterday approved Jericho Cruz’s transfer to TNT KaTropa with the addition of Kris Rosales to Sidney Onwubere plus TNT’s 2018 first-round pick…TNT coach Nash Racela rued the early news of their trade deal with ROS, feeling it had an effect in their game against GlobalPort. The Texters struggled all throughout in their 84-99 loss to the Batang Pier Wednesday.

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