Dec 08, 2022

Hotshots eye quick route to semis vs Fuel Masters

ACHIEVING the twice-to-beat edge on a tough stand in their last outing in the elims, the natural goal for the Magnolia Hotshots now is to take advantage of the incentive.

Nick Rakocevic and his teammates eye the quick route to the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals as they tangle with the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters Friday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

"We achieved yung goal namin na makarating sa twice-to-beat, and the next goal is yung makarating sa next step which is the semis," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero after a come-from-behind 106-90 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters a week ago.

A win in the 5:45 p.m. automatically propels the second-seeded Hotshots to the next round for a possible slam-bang Manila Clasico.

The third-seeded Barangay Ginebra Kings now also possess a virtual twice-to-beat advantage versus the NorthPort Batang Pier with a 118-102 rout in the opener of their best-of-three quarters face-off Wednesday.

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The Kings take their first of two shots at the semis Saturday.

But the Hotshots could be the first to make the next round if they could keep their hot form and repeat their 90-80 conquest of the Fuel Masters in their elims tiff.

But for sure, the Fuel Masters can't be counted out.

They had their big games and big wins in their seventh-place windup in the elimination round marked by the solid showing from their grizzled warriors and dazzling contributions of their exciting young guns.

Coach Topex Robinson has aces up his sleeves in Sean Anthony, RJ Jazul, Javee Mocon, Jason Perkins, Encho Serrano and Tyler Tio who complement well import Kaleb Wesson.

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A young team that they are, Robinson preaches for his team to exert effort to be the best in what they're trying to do and to be the best that they can be.

If they pull the rug from under the Hotshots, the Fuel Masters will book a first semis appearance in four conferences for the franchise and the third overall in franchise history.

A regular contender, Magnolia, meanwhile, targets a fourth straight semis. (SB)