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TNT-Magnolia, Phoenix-Meralco open PBA q'finals

MANILA, January 16 ------ The 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals will be opened by two intriguing matchups. The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, who finally clinched a twice-to-beat advantage for the first time since 2020, will look to test their new-found success as they lock horns with the Meralco Bolts in the curtain-raiser on Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. 


Meralco, however, aren’t pushovers despite coming in as the lower-seeded team between the two squads. Much like Jamike Jarin’s team, the Luigi Trillo-led squad also posts an 8-3 record and is coming into the postseason with a 109-102 win against Terrafirma Dyip in their last elimination round assignment. 


Phoenix had the opportunity to enter the playoffs as the no.2 seed, but their defeat on Sunday against the TNT Tropang Giga slid them down to no.4. Fortunately for them, the Fuel Masters can say that they have the capabilities to overcome the Bolts as they scored a win over Meralco just nearly a week ago. Speaking of TNT, the Jolas Lastimosa-mentored team will look for an upset as they face the league’s best elimination team, the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots. The Tropang Giga, after their win against Phoenix, completed the Final Eight squads who are looking to bag the Commissioner’s Cup crown, and they are banking on the returning Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy, as well as sweet-shooting rookie Kim Aurin to help slay the giants. 


The Hotshots, for their part, will be looking to fry their corporate rival’s flagship squad quickly with the help of their twice-to-beat incentive. Magnolia and TNT will be battling for a spot in the semifinals at 8 PM, while Phoenix and Meralco will open Wednesday’s festivities at 4 PM. On the other hand, 2022-2023 conference champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will resume their bid to retain the crown on Friday as they face the NorthPort Batang Pier on Friday at 8 PM. 


Also featured on that game day which is to be held at the same Pasig arena is the faceoff between the San Miguel Beermen and the Rain Or Shine ElastoPainters at 4 PM. The Gin Kings (no.3 seed) and the Beermen (no.2 seed) both hold twice-to-win advantages over their respective opponents.  



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