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Fuel Masters to fan semis bid vs Bolts

The Fuel Masters seek to regain a piece of fifth spot with the Barangay Ginebra Kings and the NLEX Road Warriors at 5-4 while the Bolts fight for survival as they clash at 4:30 p.m. Philstar.com/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix Petroleum, hoping to make the playoff round in its first tourney under coach Louie Alas, pursues its drive as it takes on beleaguered Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.

The Fuel Masters seek to regain a piece of fifth spot with the Barangay Ginebra Kings and the NLEX Road Warriors at 5-4 while the Bolts fight for survival as they clash at 4:30 p.m.

TNT KaTropa (4-5) and GlobalPort (3-4), neck and neck on the fringes of the Top Eight, collide in an equally important match at 7 p.m.

“Looking at the team standings, I told my players Meralco’s record is not the reflection of their strength,” said Alas, reminding the Fuel Masters not to take the Bolts lightly with their poor 2-6 (win-loss) slate.

“If you look at their lineup, they’re pretty strong. We have to come out and start strong. It’s tough to play a team that’s in dire need of a win,” Alas also said.

The Bolts, losing finalists in the recent Governors Cup, have dropped to a precarious spot in losing their last three games to GlobalPort (88-107), Rain or Shine (84-90) and NLEX (85-87).

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Alas insists, though, that the Bolts remain a dangerous team.

NOTES: TNT KaTropa has won the tug-of-war for the services of Jericho Cruz, acquiring the 6-foot-1 guard from Rain or Shine in exchange for Sidney Onwubere and the Texters’ 2018 first-round pick...The two ball clubs reached the trade agreement last night but the trade papers are to be forwarded to the PBA Commissioner’s Office today. And it’s unlikely that Cruz will be tapped to play in tonight’s TNT-GlobalPort duel.

Meanwhile, while awaiting the return of Terrence Romeo, GlobalPort yesterday signed up free agent Jeric Teng who will be reunited with his collegiate coach Pido Jarencio. Teng was the 12th pick by Rain or Shine in the 2013 PBA Draft.

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