Defending champion San Miguel Beer looks to make it a three-way tie for the lead against a Phoenix Super LPG squad aiming to have an inside track at the twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Philippine Cup on Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Beermen shoot for a fifth straight victory in their match with the Fuel Masters at 6:45 p.m., the last of a three-game bill following two quadruple-headers marking the league’s resumption following a short break.
Magnolia hopes to build on its victory over TNT the other day when it tackles tailender Terrafirma in the 1 p.m. opener while Rain or Shine and Meralco face off in a key battle for playoff positioning set at 4 p.m.
A win will put SMB in a share of top spot at 6-2 with TNT, which fell 102-93 to Magnolia, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, a 112-100 winner over NorthPort.
San Miguel overcame Blackwater in overtime, 90-88, last Tuesday in the first morning game in PBA history. Mo Tautuaa, averaging 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds, will try to lead the Beermen’s quest against the Fuel Masters who are in fifth place at 5-3.
Phoenix will bank on Matthew Wright to continue his status as the league’s leading scorer at 26.6 points and Calvin Abueva, who has produced 17.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals since his reinstatement.
Also crucial is the ROS-Meralco tiff with the winner gaining ground in the playoff chase. Rain or Shine was beaten 94-74 by NLEX on Wednesday, dropping to fourth place at 4-2 while Meralco climbed to sixth at 4-3 following its 89-85 triumph over Blackwater, both held Wednesday.
Magnolia gets to solidify its hold on eighth spot and improve to 4-4 if it can stay hot and continue the frustration of Terrafirma, the only winless team in the league with a 0-6 card.