PBA.PH

Games Wednesday
(Ninoy Aquino Stadium)
4:30 p.m. — NorthPort vs Terrafirma
7:30 p.m. — TNT vs Phoenix

THE TIME to make headway in the tight race for the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs is now, especially for those in the fringes of the Magic 8.

Sixth-running TNT (4-4), No. 7 Terrafirma (4-5) and No. 8 NorthPort (4-5) shoot for a pivotal fifth win while No. 10 Phoenix (3-5) looks to keep its quarterfinals drive alive as they feature in today’s double-header at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The Tropang Giga, who were stalled by Barangay Ginebra Friday, 83-87, and the Fuel Masters, riding on a 112-77 blowout over NLEX Saturday, seek to advance their respective agenda as they tussle at 7:30 p.m.

The Batang Pier and the Dyip, meanwhile, tangle at 4:30 p.m., both determined to arrest their current skids inch closer to the next round.

“It’s harder now, too hard,” TNT Tropang Giga coach Chot Reyes said recently about chasing a quarters berth under the current landscape.

“All of the teams have really upgraded… We cannot win games on talent or just showing up. We really have to outwork and outhustle every team that we play.”

NorthPort and Terrafirma even enjoyed seats in the Top 4 after starting their campaigns strong. But missteps by the Batang Pier and the Dyip in their recent assignments spanning four games and two matches, respectively, have pulled them down the standings.

Still, all’s not lost for these Last-8 aspirants.

“As much as we want to talk about what happened, we got to move on,” said NorthPort (NP) star Arvin Tolentino after NP absorbed a 120-100 beating from quarters-qualified San Miguel Sunday.

“It’s been a great experience for us. Apat na sunod na panalo (at one point), then apat na sunod na talo. We went crashing back to earth. But we still have a chance and these last two games, we’re going to give our best to win and break the playoffs, especially now its too close (standings).” — Olmin Leyba