by Jonas Terrado
Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel and Star are locked in a three-way battle for the two twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup enters the final two playdates of the elimination round.
At the moment, Ginebra and Star share the lead with identical 8-2 records – each having one game left in the elims, while San Miguel sits in third at 7-2 heading into its games tomorrow and Friday.
Of the three teams in the running, Ginebra appears to be in the best position to secure the elusive bonus after a thrilling 90-89 victory over Meralco last Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
A win over Mahindra on Friday night would assure Ginebra a twice-to-beat, even if it settles for a tie for first at 9-2 with the Beermen and Hotshots because of a superior quotient.
San Miguel must beat Blackwater tomorrow and GlobalPort on Friday to gain the twice-to-beat while Star needs a lot of help even if it wins over Alaska tomorrow because of an inferior quotient.
There’s a chance that a four-way tie at 8-3 would occur, counting TNT KaTropa which already completed its elimination round assignment. However, the KaTropa are no longer in contention for the twice-to-beat, thus facing the predicament of having to play a best-of-three.
Adding to the complication is the race for the remaining two slots in the quarterfinals, featuring surging GlobalPort, struggling teams Alaska and Phoenix and a desperate Mahindra squad.
Alaska and GlobalPort are tied for seventh and eighth at 4-6, Phoenix ended the elims at 4-7 while Mahindra is not far behind at 3-7.
Alaska and GlobalPort must beat their fancied rivals this week to complete the eight-team quarterfinal cast, or otherwise fall into the prospect of playing a playoff for the eighth seed in the event of ties.
Meralco is guaranteed of the No. 5 seed and a best-of-three series in the quarters after posting a 7-4 record, while Rain or Shine, the sixth team that clinched a quarters berth, could either be sixth or seventh.
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