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Magnolia def Meralco, 97-88 [Season 47 Philippine Cup | July 15, 2022]

Magnolia and Meralco break the three-way logjam at fourth place in a crucial face-off Friday, each side bent on keeping their hot run going to formalize entry to the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.

The Hotshots and the Bolts duke it out at 6 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo, going for the win that will also fuel their drive for a spot in the best-of-three quarterfinals.

It’s actually still mathematically possible for the Hotshots (5-3) and the Bolts (5-3) to catch up with the TNT Tropang Giga (8-3) at second spot, but they would have an inferior quotient in the resolution of the tie. Both Magnolia and Meralco were beaten by the Tropa.

Nonetheless, coach Chito Victolero’s chargers and coach Luigi Trillo’s wards are determined to push their streak forward, get the best possible finish in the elims and be ready for whomever they face in the quarterfinals.

The Hotshots are on a four-game romp while the Bolts have won their last two games while responding well to Trillo with coach Norman Black attending to his ailing mom in the United States.

The Bolts are rallying behind their coach and his mom — and their effort has been rewarded with back-to-back wins over Rain or Shine (77-73) and Barangay Ginebra (90-73).

With Black away, Trillo still cited his contribution in their teleconferences for game plans and strategies. The players are responding, with Cliff Hodge saying they’re going all out to get as many wins as possible “for coach Norman.”

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