THREE teams fight for dear life on Wednesday heading to the penultimate playing date of the PBA Philippine Cup.
Alaska takes on NorthPort in a battle of survival, while Meralco also tries to stay alive for the remaining quarterfinals berths as it collides with Barangay Ginebra in a pair of crucial matches at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces-Batang Pier tussle at 4:30 p.m. has a lot at stake for both teams.
Alaska stands at 4-6 in a tie for seventh place with NLEX and is coming off a 114-96 loss to defending champion San Miguel Beermen last Sunday. Another setback means dropping out of the Magic 8 circle.
NorthPort carries a 3-6 card and is fresh from a rousing 109-83 upset of TnT Katropa. A win would propel the team at No. 8, with one more game left, against Barangay Ginebra on April 3.
Meanwhile, Meralco clings on whatever remaining playoff hopes it has in its clash against Ginebra in the 7 p.m. main game.
The Bolts have a 3-7 mark and badly need a win against the surging Kings in the hopes of at least forcing a playoff for the eighth and last quarterfinal slot.
While denied of a shot at the No. 2 seeding, Ginebra is already assured of advancing although coach Tim Cone stressed the importance of sustaining a winning momentum heading into the next round.
“Right now, we want to keep winning and sustain momentum. That’s the key for us,” said Cone, whose Kings are on a three-game winning spree, including a come-from-behind 105-96 victory over NLEX on the road.
The Kings are at 6-3 and could finish as high as no. 3 should they complete a sweep of their last two assignments.
Against the Bolts, Cone knows it won’t be easy.
“We know Meralco is still battling for a playoff spot, so we’re expecting a very tough battle against a team we’ve had many battles against in the recent past,” said the Ginebra mentor.