PBA: TIGERS  FIGHT  FOR  SURVIVAL  VS  BEERMEN

MANILA, January 2, 2006
(STAR) Coca-Cola did away with the traditional holiday break and stayed focused on the task at hand surviving the San Mig Coffee-PBA Fiesta Conference playoff stage.

But to do so, the injury-plagued Tigers will have to get past a team so rich in championship experience but has been on a roller-coaster ride in the tournament it won last year San Miguel Beer.

"Kinalimutan muna namin ang Christmas. We still have our chances and well go for it," said Coca-Cola coach Binky Favis, whose wards need to beat the Beermen twice to advance.

Both squads finished the classification round with similar 6-10 (win-loss) cards, although the Beermen, owing to a superior quotient, took the no. 8 spot to enjoy a twice-to-beat edge over the injury-plagued Tigers.

They clash on Friday at the Astrodome.

But winning the round for either San Miguel or Coke may only be a temporary relief.

Waiting in the wings during the wild card phase is the no. 5 team to be determined in a playoff between Talk N Text and Air21 tomorrow, also at the Pasay arena.

The other wild card pairing pits sixth seed Alaska against no. 7 Sta. Lucia in a similar best-of-three affair.

Purefoods is the only team so far to have made it outright to the semifinals with crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra and Red Bull disputing the remaining automatic Final Four seat also tomorrow.

With veteran playmaker Johnny Abarrientos and rookie Dennis Miranda on the injured list, the Tigers made a strong run midway in the tournament and were actually in contention for both a wildcard and quarterfinal seats when they began losing again.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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