Marquee backcourt matchups draw attention as Magnolia seek passage into Final Four in duel vs GlobalPort

The Hotshots and the Batang Pier slug it out in a PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals face-off showcasing marquee backcourt matchups.

Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Justin Melton and PJ Simon, lethal forces in Magnolia’s stirring romp on the way to a second-place finish in the elims, will be up against GlobalPort’s explosive backcourt duo of Romeo and Stanley Pringle.

And not to be taken for granted are Jonathan Grey, Nico Elorde, Ryan Arana and Jeric Teng.

Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said they have to handle the Batang Pier carefully as they can be very dangerous especially now on their second game with Romeo.

The Hotshots hope they can get past the Batang Pier in one game and get back in the all-Filipino semis where they fought the Barangay Ginebra Kings in a full distance of a best-of-seven series last season. They then bungled a 3-2 series lead and settled for second runner-up honors.

Victolero and his troops take their first of two cracks at a semis return at 7 p.m.Tuesday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

“We have to be aggressive from start to finish. We need to surpass the aggressiveness and effort of GlobalPort,” said Victolero.

Kings repeat over E-Painters, close in on Final 4

The Gin Kings, the playoffs No. 4 seed, unleashed a crucial 12-0 run from a slim 70-69 lead and held on to repeat their 100-92 victory in their triple-overtime duel at the close of the eliminations Friday over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Game One is always crucial in a series, but definitely our job is not yet done. That team would surely not just lay down,” said Sol Mercado, a spark plug in their lethal run.

Mercado dished out his best game since his return from an injury, scoring all of his 13 points in the second half to help the Gin Kings move in the threshold of the Final Four.

The Kings, losing finalists in the all-Filipino tourney last season, go for the jugular versus the Elasto Painters on Wednesday back at the Big Dome.

“We focused on playing defense. They’re a good team which shoots a lot of treys. We had to focus on defense, try to make it tough on them and limit them to 80,” said Mercado.