(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Given the closeness of the teams in the top 8, tomorrow's game is a must-win game for both teams.
Let's make this real simple, folks. One team aims to stay at the top 2 and wants to avoid further complications once the quotient system kicks in. The other team wants a chance at a higher seeding come the playoffs. There'll be a lot at stake in tomorrow's game between the Magnolia Hotshots and the Global Port Batang Pier as the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup nearing its climax.
So we can expect more physicalities as it is the expectations of Magnolia Head Coach Chito Victolero whose team was beaten by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their previous game.
According to the Magnolia coach, their main agenda coming into tomorrow's game is to keep with their aggressiveness especially on the defensive end, noting that they were outworked by Rain or Shine. But they are facing a different Global Port squad that has been playing AND winning despite not having Terrence Romeo around. And that's actually the scary part because if you will look back at the Batang Pier's impressive dominant victory against the slumping Talk N Text KaTropa, it wasn't Stanley Pringle who led them in scoring. It was Nico Elorde. And Pringle only scored 16 points last night so that says something Global Port's ability to win despite not having someone who scored 20+points for them.
(Screenshot from the PBA Website)
As you can see in the team standings, the Hotshots are tied in 2nd and 3rd places with the Alaska Aces as both have a 6-3 record. A win by Magnolia will move them to 7-3 and will increase their chances of keeping the top 2 spot until the end of the elimination round. However, should Magnolia lose tomorrow, not only they will drop to solo third place, they can be caught by the teams behind them as Rain or Shine has a 5-3 record while the NLEX Road Warriors has a 5-4 record.
On the other hand, Global Port, with a win tomorrow, can tie with the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings at the 5th position. Losing tomorrow's game will give a glimpse of hope to the lower seeded teams as the battle for the final 3 remaining playoff spots can last until the final game of the elimination.
Losing is no longer an option for both teams but only one team can win tomorrow. For Pido Jarencio's boys, they must carry the momentum they have gathered from yesterday's game and bring the same amount of energy and aggressiveness tomorrow. For the Hotshots, win with more aggressiveness is a must. After all, they held onto the top spot for a short period of time before finding themselves stumbling into two consecutive losses. They can get the chance to get the top spot back IF they win tomorrow