(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
With 3 teams already locked on into the quarterfinals, the race is still on as the elimination round nears its climax
As of now, there are thrree teams that have been able to secure a seat in the quarterfinals: the league-leading San Miguel Beermen, the second-running Magnolia Hotshots, and the NLEX Road Warriors who are riding on their 4-game winning streak. This means one thing: there are still 5 empty seats in the quarterfinals table and we have 7 teams who are still in contention for those 5 seats.
After both the Blackwater Elite and the Global Port Batang secured crucial victories against their respective foes yesterday, below is the team standings:
(Screenshot from the PBA website: https://www.pba.ph/standings)
As you can see, only the Kia Picanto is the only team that has been long eliminated from playoff contention. The rest? Everything is possible as according to PBA Cheif Statistician Fidel Mangonon III, there were 512 possible playoff scenarios. That was said last Tuesday so yesterday's result definitely made the playoff picture a bit better and not. To help you understand the scenarios, we'll go by the team's needs and chances:
- Rain or Shine Elasto PaintersAmong the 7 teams who are aiming for a playoff spot, the Elasto Painters have the toughest schedule to finish the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup as they are scheduled to face a skidding Alaska Aces tomorrow then the Beermen before finishing it off against Ginebra. Fortunately, the Elasto Painters only need to win ONCE in those three games to secure a quarterfinal slot but if you want to make a deeper run into the playoffs, you wouldn't be contented with just ONE win, right? The higher you rank, the better.
- Barangay Ginebra Gin KingsAfter absorbing a stunning defeat at the hands of the Meralco Bolts, the Gin Kings are still in control of their own fate. At 5-5, they can snatch a place into the top 5 assuming that they win against the Elasto Painters- their final game of the elimination round. Simple, isn't it?
- Global Port Batang PierAfter beating the lowly Kia Picanto, the Terrence Romeo-less Batang Pier have one foot already inside the quarterfinals stage with one more win needed to complete the conquest for a playoff spot. Win against Phoenix on March 2 and Global Port will enter the quarterfinals without complications. Lose that game and there'll be more problems and more rants from Coach Pido Jarencio.
- Phoenix Fuel MastersAfter losing yesterday to the Elite, the Fuel Masters must now need to win their game against Global Port for them to secure at least, a rubber match for the final playoff spot.
- Blackwater EliteDespite yesterday's win, Blackwater will now have to play the waiting game and hope that some of the teams will lose their final games to be able to get a spot in the next round. Tough, isn't it?
- Talk N Text KaTropaThe KaTropa have been underperforming this conference and they are struggling to get their act together as they are on a 3-game losing streak. However, even if they beat NLEX in their last game, they will be joining Blackwater in the waiting game.
- Meralco BoltsThe Bolts are definitely one of the disappointing teams this conference but they came alive out of the blue as they are on a 2-game winning streak which included a win over Ginebra. However, making it three wins in a row will be a big hump to get over with as Meralco will face Magnolia next. If the Bolts can win that game, they may have a chance a spot in the next round.
Who will make it to the quarterfinals? Who will miss? Given the complexities and the complications, it's definitely hard to say. Mind you, the top 2 teams will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals so if your team is lagging behind the 7th and 8th spots, chances are you wouldn't last long in the playoffs.