Teams looking to reach the semis right away take center stage as the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals resume Wednesday at the DHVSU Gym.
Top two teams TNT and Meralco will look to put their win-once incentive into good use, although that won’t be easy. They will have to take on upset-hungry opponents hoping to stay longer in the Pampanga semi-bubble.
The top-seeded Tropang Giga will battle reigning champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at 6:00 PM, in a rematch of last year’s bubble finals.
The MVP Group’s crown jewel has the Gin Kings’ number this season through an 88-67 beatdown in the eliminations. And it will surely look to follow it up now that it has the opportunity to end their corporate rivals’ reign.
It would be taking on a team that’s missing top big man Japeth Aguilar due to an MCL sprain. It is also not sure yet if the crowd darlings will have Scottie Thompson back in time as he has undergone health and safety protocols.
But if anything, the Barangay heads into Wednesday’s clash with momentum as it is coming off a 95-85 win over Phoenix in the playoff for no. 8.
Opening the double-header offering, on the other hand, is the no. 2 Bolts battling the seventh-seeded Road Warriors at 3:00 PM.
Meralco has its sights set on conquering its sister team again, as it did in their eliminations meeting last September 23. That, though, also serves as a reminder of what it should expect this time around.
That game saw NLEX come back from a 20-point third quarter deficit and knock to within just two late behind the hot shooting of Calvin Oftana. Still, time wasn’t on their side and the Orangemen went away with the 104-101 win.
A victory would propel the Bolts to another Philippine Cup semifinal appearance after making their first-ever in the said conference last year.
Should the teams in a twice-to-beat disadvantage manage to stun their favored foes, the do-or-die match will be held on Friday.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer and Magnolia have the opportunity to finish off their respective opponents on Thursday.
Both squads have 1-0 leads in their best-of-three series and could reach the semis immediately should they take care of business.
The Beermen will face NorthPort Batang Pier at 2:00 PM. Meanwhile, the Hotshots will take on the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 4:35 PM.
Should the series go the distance, the deciding Game Three will be on Saturday.