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    Grudge matches set as Philippine Cup semis action gets going

    Aug 3, 2022
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    Aaron Black and the Bolts take on CJ Perez and the Beermen as Paul Lee's Hotshots collide with Mikey Williams' Tropang Giga.
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    TNT and Magnolia begin their best-of-seven semifinal series in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    It will be a rematch of last year’s finals encounter where the Tropang Giga captured the crown in the Bacolor, Pampanga bubble.

    Game One is scheduled at 3 p.m.

    See Austria wary as Meralco 'comfortable' playing San Miguel

    TNT progressed semifinals after defeating Converge, 116-95, while Magnolia had to go through the eye of the needle before defeating NLEX in Game Three, 112-106, in overtime.

    The Tropang Giga won the elimination-round game against the Hoshots, 78-72, in the season-opener on June 5.

    Head coach Chot Reyes is wary of the Hotshots' ability to force turnovers.

    “We have to work on taking care of the ball better and rebounding,” said Reyes.

    Chot Reyes, Chito Victolero  Coaches Chot Reyes and Chito Victolero clash anew.

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    Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said the NLEX series also allowed his team to prepare for the semifinals.

    “Thankful din ako sa binigay na laban sa amin ni coach Yeng. They deserve also to go to the semis and ang ganda ng laro nila. Both teams naman, it boiled down to one possession, lone rebound, one miss. Na-ready nila kami going to the semis.”

    “Hopefully, we can compete. We will try our best to compete and go again to the finals,” said Victolero.

    Mikey Williams is expected to be the focal point of the Magnolia defense, with the high-scoring guard averaging 22.3 points per game.

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      San Miguel and Meralco begin their semifinal series at 6 p.m.

      The Beermen topped the elimination round with a 9-2 win-loss record but one of the defeats were handed to them by the Bolts, 89-86, on July 17.

      Coach Leo Austria believes that with the roster complete, the Beermen will get past the Bolts.

      Continue reading below ↓

      “I’m so proud of the team. At that time, we don’t have a lot of players. Wala si Jericho Cruz, si Brondial, nawala si Chris Ross, nawala rin ako, nawala rin si Herndon, but despite of that, we lost by only three points. Kinapos kami dahil maraming nawala. I think that’s enough motivation for us. Inspite of a depleted line-up, we were able to give them a close fight,” said Austria.

      Meralco assistant coach Luigi Trillo said the series will be different despite the win during the eliminations.

      “San Miguel is number one. It’s a different animal altogether. Siyempre, may June Mar Fajardo sila, Tautuaa, and Vic Manuel. If you look at them pound for pound, at one time, si Tautuaa and Manuel were arguably the best post guys in the league… Obviously, they added CJ Perez, Lassiter, Ross, and they are going to be a handful.”

      Meralco is fresh from a 106-104 win over Ginebra in Game Three of their quarterfinal series.

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      “I’m confident that we can put up a good fight. We have guys all around who can chip in. It’s going to be different because it’s seven games,” said Trillo.

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      Aaron Black and the Bolts take on CJ Perez and the Beermen as Paul Lee's Hotshots collide with Mikey Williams' Tropang Giga.
      PHOTO: PBA Images
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