Swim or sink for Magnolia

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Games today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 pm – Globalport vs San Miguel
7pm – Magnolia vs Talk ‘N Text

Free-falling Magnolia battles playoffs-bound Talk ‘N Text, aching to end a three-game losing skein to keep its quarterfinal hopes alive today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Action kicks off at 7 p.m. with the Hotshots (3-4) eyeing to halt their slide against the quarterfinalists-KaTropa (6-1) before it gets too late heading into the last four games of the mid-season conference.
Meanwhile, streaking San Miguel Beer (3-3) shoots for a fourth straight win against a dangerous Globalport (3-4) in the first game set at 4:30 pm.
Reinforced by new import Justin Jackson, Magnolia failed to stop a losing spell as Jackson struggled in his PBA debut and absorbed a tough 99-103 loss to a red-hot Alaska side Sunday night.
The 6’9 Jackson, who replaced Curtis Kelly last week, had 21 points in a 9-of-21 shooting from the field, including a forgettable 3-of-13 free throw clip.
“We’re 51% as a team in free throws. We’ll try to improve, especially in Jackson’s percentage,” said head coach Chito Victolero after the Hotshots shot 14-of-27 from the stripe, compared to an astounding 24-of-30 clip of Alaska.
Vastly-improved Vic Manuel feasted on the Hotshots with a career-high 35 points in their last outing.
With Marc Pingris already out for the rest of the season due to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear injury, Ian Sangalang also missed his second straight game with a hand injury just before the All-Star break.
“Medyo mabigat sa amin na wala sina Ian at Ping. Hirap yung guards ko,” added Victolero.
“But we’ll try to find ways. Hindi pa naman kami out. Sana makuha na namin in this game.”
To finally get back into the win column, Victolero will be banking on Jackson, with coverage from his steady backcourt led by Paul Lee, Justin Melton and Mark Barroca whose 21, 14 and 10 points, respectively, went for naught in yet another Magnolia meltdown.
Fresh from a 10-day layoff after its 117-106 win over NLEX, TNT will be having a major boost with the return of Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy following their decent FIBA 3×3 World Cup stint.
National team players Rosario and Pogoy rejoin Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro and import Joshua Smith in TNT’s bid to gain a share of lead with Rain or Shine entering the home stretch of the import-laden conference.

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