Bay Area, Magnolia eye short route to semis

Twice-to-beat teams Bay Area and Magnolia look to take the short route to the semifinals when they try to finish off their respective foes in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Friday, Dec. 9.

Andrew Nicholson (PBA Images)

The top seed Dragons are no way leaving things to chance when they take the challenge from a young but hungry Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the first offering at 3 p.m.

Also armed with the quarterfinals incentive, the Hotshots are, likewise, looking to finish off the the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the main event at 5:45 p.m.

Bay Area, despite the dominant showing in the elimination round, including a 120-87 mauling of Rain or Shine, remains wary of its quarterfinals foes, knowing full well that the PBA playoffs should be a different beast.

“We want to keep it rolling. We know that the first part of the season is over but the playoffs are going to be another different type of war. So we’re preparing for that,” said Dragons head coach Brian Goorijian during an interview with Power and Play with Kom Noli Eala last Saturday.

At the forefront of the searing performance from the Dragons during the eliminations was import Myles Powell who kept Bay Area undefeated when he’s the reinforcement playing for the PBA guest team.

He is expected to lead the charge anew although his health is in question following reports saying that he suffered an ankle injury during one of their practices which could prompt Bay Area to play its other high scoring import in Andrew Nicholson.

Determined to pull all the stops despite the daunting task however are the Elasto Painters who will be banking on import Ryan Pearson along with young guns in Rey Nambatac, Andrei Caracut, Gian Mamuyac and Leonard Santillan to carry the fight.

Meanwhile, the Hotshots defense will be put to a test once again versus the high-octane offense of the Fuel Masters who will have super-rookies Tyler Tio and Encho Serrano leading the assault while providing the veteran presence are Sean Anthony, Javee Mocon and RJ Jazul.

On the other hand, expected to trigger the offense of Magnolia is its suffocating defense anchored on its three-headed backcourt that featured Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca.

Another interesting sidelight to the contest is the matchup of imports who have somewhat similar playstyles in Magnolia’s Nick Rakocevic and Phoenix’s Caleb Wesson.