(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
One team aims to seal their seat in the quarterfinals while the other aims to land at a better spot for the next round.
One bad game could change a team's fate come the playoffs. And that's something that both the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters want to avoid as they are scheduled to clash tonight on the very last day of the elimination round for the PBA Philippine Cup.
To give you a better picture, below are the updated standings heading into tonight's game:
(Screenshot from the official website of the PBA)
As you can see, Rain or Sine is in 4th place with a 6-4 record while the Gin Kings are in 6th place with a 5-5 record. A win by Rain or Shine will hike their record to 7-4 and will tie them with the Alaska Aces. However, should the Gin Kings win tonight, not only will it bring down the Elasto Painters to a lower seed but it will also give Ginebra a 5-5 slate- identical to the NLEX Road Warriors.
And, improving their records isn't the one thing that both Coach Caloy Garcia and Tim Cone have in their minds coming into tonight important match-up. It's also avoiding facing either the San Miguel Beermen or the Magnolia Hotshots- the top 2 teams with the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against the 7th and 8th seeded teams respectively.
Although Rain or Shine has already secured its playoff spot with a surprising win against the undermanned San Miguel Beermen, Caloy Garcia said that his team wants to make sure that they enter the quarterfinals as the number 4 team and also added that it's not good to enter quarterfinals coming off a loss.
For the Gin Kings who absorbed a disheartening defeat at the hands of the Meralco Bolts which spoiled the return of Joe Devance, it's really simple: win tonight and you avoid the complications of having an identical record with other teams in the playoff picture.
If the Gin Kings have already moved on from that embarrassing loss against the Bolts and they will come out with more energy tonight, Ginebra will win it. However, one shouldn't count the Elasto Painters out just yet. They've beaten the Beermen. They will be playing their third game in 9 games so if you're Rain or Shine, why stop winning now?