The Magnolia Chicken Timplados have the twice-to-beat advantage in this quarterfinals matchup against the Phoenix LPG Fuel Masters. One loss and that advantage is gone, which is what the Fuel Masters will do everything it can to do. Will the Timplados move on to the semis by taking care of business in this game? Or, will Phoenix live another day?
Catch this game live on Friday, December 9 at 5:45 pm, Manila time.
Magnolia Chicken Timplados
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Paul Lee
- SG: Mark Barroca
- SF: Calvin Abueva
- PF: Ian Sangalang
- C: Nikola Rakocevic
Magnolia is barging into the playoffs in fine form. The Timplados have lost just once in their final six games in the elimination phase, with that lone loss coming at the hands of the conference-leading Bay Area Dragons. Also included in that six-game stretch was the Timplados’ dominant 90-80 victory over Phoenix back last month. Magnolia had its way against the Fuel Masters’ defense in that game, with six Timplados players scoring in double-digits, led by Nikola Rakocevic, who paced his team with a double-double of 18 points and 18 rebounds.
Magnolia thrives on Rakocevic’s style of play. He isn’t flashy but gets the job done without using up a bunch of touches. Anybody can come up with a huge game for the Timplados. Even more consistent is the support the locals provide for Rakocevic. Six guys on the team average at least 9.0 points per game. Plus, the Timplados apply a suffocating defense that is second in the PBA this conference with just 98.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.
Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Tyler Tio
- SG: Kurt Lojera
- SF: Javee Mocon
- PF: Jason Perkins
- C: Kaleb Wesson
Phoenix makes the playoffs despite a poor form towards the end of the elimination round. The Fuel Masters were circling down the drain with three losses in a row before ending their slump with a 135-84 demolition job of the Terrafirma Dyip, Winning against a garbage team like Terrafirma proves nothing for the Fuel Masters, but beating up a glorified basketball sparring partner must have given Phoenix a much-needed confidence-booster heading into a showdown with Magnolia.
And just because the Fuel Masters have lost a bunch of games lately, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a haymaker they can unleash and score a win vs. Magnolia this Friday. Phoenix is playing with desperation, ready to throw everything just to survive. The Fuel Masters can get hot from deep and run away with momentum early. They are averaging 10.8 3-pointers per game and even hit 12 treys in the first meeting with the Timplados. And they’re a pretty good defensive team, ranking third in defensive rating (98.9) overall.
Spread: Phoenix (+11) covers the spread.
Over/Under: The total (188.5) hits the Under.