By JONAS TERRADO
Magnolia Pambansang Manok and San Miguel Beer go for the sweep of their respective best-of-three series Thursday, Sept. 30 in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots look to finish off the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 4:35 p.m. in what could be another low-scoring affair and have the luxury of waiting for the conclusion of the NLEX Road Warriors-Meralco Bolts matchup.
On the other hand, the Beermen try to beat the NorthPort Batang Pier a second time in the 2 p.m. curtain raiser and set up a best-of-seven semifinal showdown with the TNT Tropang Giga.
An 81-70 win behind Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva last Sept. 26 put Magnolia closer to its first semifinal appearance since the 2019 Philippine Cup. The Hotshots have failed to reach past the quarters in the last three conferences.
But the Elasto Painters are expected to come out and make things difficult for the Hotshots with rookie big man Santi Santillan, who scored 17 points in Game 1, guard Rey Nambatac and forward Javee Mocon leading the way.
Meanwhile, SMB is coming off a dramatic 88-87 victory when Alex Cabagnot sank a last-second jumper in his first game back from a knee injury.
Cabagnot’s return gave the Beermen a different dimension that was missing since the Bacolor restart.
CJ Perez, named Cignal Play PBA Press Corps, is out to provide big numbers while leading scorer Terrence Romeo could be back after missing the last few games due to an injured foot.
NorthPort, meanwhile, is determined to force a deciding Game 3 after a heartbreaking end to the series opener.
The Batang Pier took the lead in incredible fashion when Robert Bolick drained a deep three with four seconds left, only to see Cabagnot come through in the clutch.
Bolick aims to put up slightly-better numbers this time after his long triple was the only one he made in four attempts. He was also 5-of-14 despite scoring 13 points in Game 1.