TWO of the league’s heavyweight teams will clash on what could be a preview of one of the post-season matchups as the hot-streaking TNT Tropang Giga battle defending champions San Miguel Beermen in the main game of the PBA Season 45 Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Cen-ter in Pampanga at 6:45 p.m. today, October 16.
The Tropang Giga won their first two games, putting them on top of the standings in Week 1 of action inside the “bubble” in Clark, Pampanga.
The guards of TNT have proven in the last two games what they can do as RR Pogoy notched a career-high 45 points last Sunday against the Alaska Aces while Bobby Ray Parks Jr. posted his own career-high 40 points over the Terrafirma Dyip on Tuesday.
TNT coach Bong Ravena said that he’s happy with the good start, commending the performance of his wards among them veteran Jason Castro who scored 28 and 15, respectively, in the first two games.
Aside from Parks, Castro and Pogoy, the Tropang Giga will also rely on John Paul Erram, David Semerad, Jeth Troy Rosario, and veterans Ryan Reyes, Harvey Carey and Jay Washington.
The Beermen, on the other hand, are looking to get back on track after losing to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 87-83, last Tuesday.
Without the six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who’s still nursing an injured right shin, the Beermen will be counting on veterans Arwind Santos, Terrence Romeo, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter.
Bigman Moala Tautuaa is also expected to deliver in the absence of Fajardo.
San Miguel Beer will also be expecting output from bench players in Billy Mamaril, Von Pessumal, Gelo Alolino, Paul Zamar, Daniel de Guzman, Wendell Comboy, Louie Vigil, Bambam Gamalinda and Russel Escoto.
In the first game, Rain or Shine guns for its second win against the Terrafirma Dyip.
Meanwhile, the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and the Meralco Bolts barged into the win column in contrasting manners on Wednesday night.
The Magnolia Hotshots needed to erase a 22-point deficit before riding on the heroics of Paul Lee to beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 103-100.
Lee received a pass from Jio Jalalon and scored a three-pointer while getting fouled with 32.5 seconds left to play. He made the bonus free throw to complete four-point play, giving the Hotshots a 101-100 edge.
Kiefer Ravena missed a turnaround jumper that paved the way to Marc Barroca’s free throws for the final tally.
Meralco cruised to a 93-81 win over the Alaska Aces. The Bolts rushed to a strong start and built a 17-point lead in the first half.
The Aces rallied in the third quarter and were able to tie the game at 52-all, but that was the closest they could get as the Bolts were quick to regain their composure and ended the third canto with a 65-58 edge.