AIR21 tries to pump life into its playoff bid when the Express take on Petron on Saturday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A three-game losing skid has left the Express at 5-8 (win-loss), just half a game ahead of Barako Bull (4-8) in what has turned into a two-way battle for the eighth and last spot in the quarterfinals.
With Barako Bull capable of moving up to 6-8 with a sweep of its last two games, it has become imperative for Air21 to win its final elims assignment against Petron to stay in the playoff hunt.
“We just need to take care of our own business, but for now, the situation is beyond our control,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren admitted.
At 7-5, Petron is in third spot and has a slim chance of displacing Rain or Shine from second place, which comes with a twice-to-beat advantage in the Last Eight match-ups.
To do that, the Boosters must sweep their last two games and hope that Rain or Shine (8-4) lose their last two games. A tie will necessitate a playoff for the No. 2 seeding.
Petron found itself reeling in the standings after winning just once in its last four matches. The sole victory came at the expense of Barako Bull last week, 88-77, as new import Henry Sims got the better of his match up with DJ Mbenga.
The Express lost to the Boosters in their first encounter this conference, 53-60.