BARAKO Bull is not trying to pick its opponent in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs.
Stalwarts Joseph Yeo and Dylan Ababou both made this clear after the Energy reeled to a third straight loss - a 120-98 decision at the hands of Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday night.
The Energy are already assured of a quarterfinal spot after putting up their best start in franchise history when they won six of their first seven outings.
But finishing with a higher seeding in the playoffs would mean a quarterfinal match-up against one of the low-seeded contenders who have struggled early in the conference but are slowly regaining their familiar form, including defending champions Star Hotshots.
The loss to the Kings, though, dropped the early tournament leaders to a tie for fourth spot with GlobalPort, which they beat, 123-114, and would face if the postseason started today.
The scenario is opposed to facing either sixth-running Meralco (which they defeated 105-99), seventh-ranked Star, (which they will face on Sunday), or eighth-running Kia, (which beat them, 71-68) if they ended up with one of the Top Three spots.
But Yeo was quick to banish thoughts that Barako is tanking games, stressing the Energy are still gunning for a twice-to-beat edge that is an incentive for making the Top Four.
“Kasi kailangan pa rin namin talaga (manalo) eh,” the star guard said. “Goal talaga namin mag-Top Four. Ewan ko nga, tatlong sunod kami natalo at hindi ko alam bakit.”
Ababou echoed his sentiment.
“Hindi (kami namimili ng kalaban),” the wingman said. “In the first place, hindi pa kami sure sa Top Four eh. Kailangan namin ‘yun para twice-to-beat, ‘di ba? So must-win talaga lahat ng games.”
But the Energy failed to display that sense of urgency against the Kings.
“Hindi ko alam kung nag-kumpiyansa kami na kayang-kaya namin or napagod lang rin talaga,” Yeo said.
“I think mas gusto nila (Ginebra) manalo,” he added. “They played better than us.”
Ironically, both Ababou and Yeo were with Ginebra just last conference until being traded to Barako in the season-ending tournament.