BARANGAY Ginebra zeroes in on a best-of-three quarterfinal berth against an Alaska side that is fighting for dear life in a thrilling final elimination round playdate of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Currently with an even 5-5 record, the Kings can clinch outright the no. 6 spot and earn the right to face defending champion and third seed Purefoods in the quarterfinals with a win in the 7 p.m. duel.
“It’s a must-win for us tomorrow (today) kaya we have to come out stronger compared sa last game namin against Globalport,” said Ginebra veteran sentinel LA Tenorio.
A win by Ginebra will finally complete the playoff cast, with the Kings clinching the no. 6 berth, and Barako Bull and Globalport taking the seventh and eight seeds, respectively.
An Alaska loss will drop the Aces at 4-7 and outright elimination in the conference. Although the record will tie the Aces with the Batang Pier, Globalport will take the remaining playoffs berth after beating Alaska in their head-to-head duel, 95-73.
Tenorio helped trigger Ginebra’s early breakaway, leading to an easy 96-81 win over Globalport on Saturday in an out-of-town game in Lucena.
But the former Ateneo playmaker admitted the Aces are a different case, citing the difficulty they have matching up against them.
“We are having a hard time with them, but for us, we just have to focus on our game plan para mas malaki ang chance namin,” he added.
Alaska badly needs a win over Ginebra to make it outright to the playoffs.
A victory by the Aces will forge a three-way tie at 5-6 with the Kings and the Energy, with the quotient system to be applied to determine the order of the seeding in the playoffs.
“Huge game for us. It’s really a do-or-die game,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
“Ginebra is in the playoffs no matter what.”
Compton said Ginebra’s stacked-up roster makes it even more difficult to play the Kings.
“I don’t really see them (Gin Kings) having a weakness at any position because their guards are great, and so are the bigs,” he added, citing the armada of guards Ginebra have led by Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Joseph Yeo, Jayjay Helterbrand, and a now-healthy Josh Urbiztondo.