Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy take off their Gilas shirts and wear their TNT KaTropa jerseys again, and the rest of the Texters look to get going in chase of a Top Two berth as they square off with skidding Magnolia Pambansang Manok in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the MOA Arena Wednesday.
Smith, Tony Semerad and Terrence Romeo led six TNT KaTropa players scoring in double figures as the Texters warded off the NLEX Road Warriors, 117-106, for an outright playoff entry.
Before taking a 12-day break to give way to Rosario and Pogoy's participation with Team Phl in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Cup, the Texters were on a searing run and among the league leaders at 6-1.
The Texters hope to keep the fire of their romp as they tangle with the Hotshots in their 7 p.m. face-off.
While TNT has won its last three matches, Magnolia, on the other hand, has dropped its last three and is thus now on a shaky spot, tied with GlobalPort at seventh spot with their identical 3-4 win-loss slates.
They are barely up on Phoenix Fuel (3-5) and Barangay Ginebra (2-5) as the Hotshots have gone without a win since the departure of Vernon Macklin.
They hope to do better in their second outing with second import sub Justin Jackson.
In Jackson's debut Sunday, the Hotshots went down to a 99-103 loss to the Alaska Milk Aces, suffering tremendous beating on Vic Manuel's career-best 35-point output.
The continued absence of the injury-hit Ian Sangalang didn't help their cause.
Meanwhile, the Texters are admirable with the consistency they've been showing thus far.
They're two-of-two with returning import Josh Smith who averaged 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in their games against Columbian Dyip and NLEX.
The Texters, however, are determined to sustain their charge in pursuit of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
They're to go through a tough test in their closing games in the elims where they're up against Magnolia, San Miguel Beer, Meralco and Rain or Shine.(SB)