Wild playoff race set to reach climax as four teams eye needed win

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By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Star returns to action after a week and a half of layoff against Blackwater, while TNT and GlobalPort will slug it out in a must-watch PBA Philippine Cup doubleheader at the Cuneta Astrodome on Wednesday night.

The Hotshots will take on the Elite at 4:15 p.m., while the KaTropa and the Batang Pier will lock horns at 7 p.m. as they gun for the remaining quarterfinal spots.

The pressure, however, is on Blackwater as the Leo Isaac-led side, playing its final game in the eliminations, could even slip out of the quarterfinals with a loss.

A loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Friday night pulled the Elite down to an eventual tie for seventh with their tormentors with one game left in their respective schedules, and a win could keep them out of elimination and give them a chance of even landing the other twice-to-beat advantage in the next round after the quotients are tabulated.

Star, meanwhile, has two matches at hand, all against also-ran sides, somehow giving the Chito Victolero- mentored club a chance to dictate its fate in the conference, but the long rest could take a toll on the team ahead of what would be its last game against a playoff contender.

The nightcap is equally compelling as both TNT and GlobalPort look to jump out of the crowded middle of the standings and join Phoenix in second place.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno