By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
WITH their spots in the playoffs of the PBA Philippine Cup still anything but assured, the Columbian Dyip and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok enter their 4:30 p.m. encounter today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with much urgency.
Currently sporting middling cards of 4-5 and 2-4, respectively, Columbian and Magnolia try to go for that important win against one another that would give their push in the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association tournament a huge boost.
The Dyip, at seventh place as of this writing, were victorious in their last game, defeating the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 85-82, on March 6.
Columbian got balanced contributions from the rest of the team in said contest allowing it to get the better of the Elasto Painters while also boosting their playoff hopes.
Guard Rashawn McCarthy paced Columbian with 22 points with Jackson Corpuz adding 12 of his own.
Top rookie CJ Perez, for his part, had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“This win was an important one in our hopes of making it to the quarterfinals. We are happy with the four wins we have right now as they are an improvement from our showing in the previous seasons in the All-Filipino. But we want to enter the quarterfinals,” said Columbian coach John Cardel in the vernacular following their last game.
Also coming off a win is Magnolia, a 103-86 winner over the Alaska Aces on March 9.
Cranking things up in the second quarter, the Hotshots were just too much to handle for the Aces the rest of the way as they cruised to the dominant victory.
Ian Sangalang stood tall in the win, finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
Paul Lee came off the bench to score 20 points and grab eight boards while Mark Barroca had 19 points and five steals.
Jio Jalalon and Rodney Brondial also wound up in double-digits scoring for the Hotshots with 12 points apiece. Mr. Brondial also grabbed 10 boards.
“We talked about treating each of our remaining games as do-or-die matches. With the kind of record we have, it’s already the playoffs for us,” said Mr. Sangalang after their win over Alaska.
“This will be our mindset moving forward and we now on focus on Columbian,” he added.
Playing in the second game today at 7 p.m. are the Alaska Aces (3-3) and NLEX Road Warriors (2-5).
Meanwhile, June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel is the latest recipient of the PBA player of the week honors after showing the way for the streaking Beermen.
Averaging 33.5 points, 16 rebounds and 2.5 assists in their last two victories against NLEX and Northport Batang Pier, in that order, “The Kraken” was a hands-down winner of the weekly plum, beating out Columbian’s Perez and McCarthy, Meralco’s Baser Amer, TNT’s Roger Pogoy and Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and Aljon Mariano.