THE Alaska Aces and the Star Hotshots, tied at seventh, battle out of their deadlock while cellar dwelling teams Meralco Bolts and Mahindra FloodBuster fight for survival.
These four teams in the lower half of the team standings plunge into action with a sense of urgency as the homestretch of the elimination round in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup approaches.
After having their three-game winning runs snapped, Star and Alaska, both at 3-3, want to bounce back as they test each other out at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight in a crucial outing. Meralco (2-5) takes on Mahindra (1-5) at 4:15 p.m.
Both gaining steam following slow starts in the tournament, it seemed that the Hotshots and the Aces are both well on their way to the upper half of the race. However, both squads tripped in their previous assignments.
Star bowed to Barangay Ginebra, 79-86, on Christmas day while Alaska stumbled against TNT KaTropa, 109-100, two days earlier.
They are both hoping to start 2017 with a bang and earn a needed victory.
The Hotshots and the Aces are both very fresh coming in, having a break of more than two weeks.
Meralco isn’t exactly enjoying its best time as of the moment. The team is riding a four-game slide that saw it slip down to 11th place.
It last suffered defeat against GlobalPort, 89-97, last week in the league’s first game of the year.
On the other hand, after losing its first five games, Mahindra was finally able to break into the winning column last Christmas, keeping its dim hope of making the quarterfinals alive.
The Floodbuster tripped Blackwater, 97-93, last Christmas to notch its first win.