Games Friday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4 p.m. — Blackwater vs TNT
8 p.m. — San Miguel Beer vs Ginebra

WITH early quarterfinalists Magnolia and Phoenix enjoying the inside track in the jockeying for the four playoffs incentives, now’s time for the chase pack to start their big push.

Holder Barangay Ginebra (4-2), San Miguel Beer or SMB (3-3), TNT (3-3) look to boost their respective bids while Blackwater (1-6) seeks to stay alive in the race as they feature in today’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup double-header at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings and the Beermen collide at 8 p.m. with the former out for a quick bounceback from their 77-82 loss to the Fuel Masters and move closer to a quarters ticket and the latter bent on snapping a two-game slide.

The Tropang Giga hope to sustain the momentum from their come-from-behind 113-97 romp over NLEX in eyeing win No. 4 against a Bossing side that has lost six straight after a triumphant season opener.

Six wins will enable the aspirants to follow the Hotshots (7-0) and Phoenix (6-1) into the Last-8. But they need more than that to get a Top 4 spot and twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters.

TNT is tackling this race with a lineup that’s missing top scorers Mikey Williams and RR Pogoy and reliable bigs Poy Erram and Justin Chua. Veteran guard Jayson Castro even missed their last game due to hip strain.

Coach Jojo Lastimosa said they must be able to overcome this by going the extra mile.

Notes: NLEX veteran Asi Taulava had his final bow in the PBA at the very place he made his first in 1999 under Mobiline — PhilSports Arena. “It was a fitting story-book ending to my career,” said Mr. Taulava, who saw action in his 24th season last Wednesday to break a tie with Robert Jaworski for most seasons played. “I played here in PhilSports versus Tanduay, my very first PBA game,” recalled the 50-year-old who was feted with a jersey retirement ceremony at halftime. — Olmin Leyba