PLAYOFF positioning reaches its tightest and most intense stage as the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations goes down to its last playdate on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Whether it’s postseason work or early vacation for the remaining playoff aspirants will be known when the smoke clears after the doubleheader pitting GlobalPort and Phoenix at 4:30 p.m. and Ginebra and Rain or Shine at 7 o’clock.
San Miguel Beer, Magnolia, Alaska, Rain or Shine, and NLEX are all just waiting for their opponents in the next round.
Here are the standings as of Thursday:
** - twice to beat
* - playoffs
x – eliminated
Rain or Shine clinched the fifth playoff berth after taking advantage of a full-strength San Miguel Beer side that’s assured of the top seed regardless of the result, rolling to a 95-80 win on Wednesday night.
That leaves five teams fighting for the last three quarterfinal spots, although based on the computations, GlobalPort has also essentially advanced to the next round – barring a blowout defeat at the hands of Phoenix.
There are four scenarios remaining, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, and this how the playoff picture will look like in each one.
These quarterfinal pairings, though, can still change depending on the margins of the results of the games in the final playdate of the regular season.
If Globalport and Ginebra win:
That will create a four-way tie at 6-5 among Ginebra, NLEX, ROS, and Globalport, with the Gin Kings owning the superior quotient and clinching fourth seed and a best-of-three series matchup against NLEX, while third seed Alaska and sixth seed ROS face off in the other first-to-two wins matchup.
The Batang Pier will end up at seventh seed with a twice-to-win disadvantage against second seed Magnolia.
The situation will also put idle teams TNT and Blackwater in a tie for eighth spot, leaving them in a playoff for the last quarterfinal spot and the right to face top seed SMB.
Phoenix will be eliminated in this scenario.
If Globalport and ROS win:
A three-way tie at 5-6 will ensue among Blackwater, Ginebra, and TNT, with the Elite owning the best quotient among them and ending up in seventh seed with a twice-to-win disadvantage against second seed Magnolia.
Ginebra and TNT will have to face off in a playoff for the final postseason berth for the chance to pull off an upset against the pacesetting Beermen.
For the other two-way ties, no quotients will have to be used as the winner-over-the other rule is enough to determine the higher-seeded team.
Alaska will finish ahead of ROS to clinch third seed and face GlobalPort in a best-of-three series, while the E-Painters will face NLEX in the other series.
The Fuel Masters will also get the boot in this picture.
If Phoenix and Ginebra win:
Four teams will end up tied at 5-6 in a scenario where Globalport will gain outright playoff entry at seventh seed thanks to having the highest quotient, although having a twice-to-win problem against second seed Magnolia.
Phoenix and TNT will battle in a playoff for the last seed and the right to face the Beermen, while the idle Elite will get eliminated owing to having the lowest quotient.
ROS, Ginebra, and NLEX will also wound up tied at 6-5, with the E-Painters having the best quotient and clinching fourth seed in a best-of-three encounter against the Gin Kings. The Road Warriors, for their part, will face third seed Alaska.
If Phoenix and ROS win:
This creates the biggest logjam as five teams will end up knotted at 5-6, with the Batang Pier again finishing with the superior quotient and claiming sixth seed in a best-of-three series against Alaska.
This also is the best situation for Phoenix, which will clinch a playoff berth outright at seventh seed and face the twice-to-beat Hotshots.
Ginebra and Blackwater will have to take on each other in a playoff for the last quarterfinal spot and the right to face top seed SMB.
ROS and NLEX will face off in the other best-of-three quarterfinal affair.