A MANILA Clasico in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals is a real possibility, no thanks to NorthPort's stunning win over TNT KaTropa last Sunday.
NorthPort's shock win gave Rain or Shine a free ride to the second twice-to-beat spot alongside top seed Phoenix Pulse, leaving both TNT and Barangay Ginebra in a battle for the third to sixth places in the standings.
While the No. 7 and 8 qualifiers face twice-to-win situations against Rain or Shine and Phoenix, the next four placers will figure in a pair of crossover best-of-three quarterfinals pitting No. 3 against No. 6 and No. 4 against No. 7.
The way it looked, a quarterfinal series between longtime rivals Ginebra and Magnolia is in the cards.
How? Here's how.
So far, the match-ups for the quarterfinal round is still undetermined. Here are the standings for the third to sixth spots.
3. Barangay Ginebra 6-3
4. TNT 7-4
5. San Miguel 7-4
6. Magnolia 5-5
Here are the scenarios for Barangay Ginebra, TNT, San Miguel, and Magnolia.
The Gin Kings can still clinch the third spot by winning at least one of their remaining two games – Meralco on Wednesday and NorthPort on April 3. Sweeping the two games will move the Kings to 8-3. And even if it falls into a tie with TNT and San Miguel for 7-4, Ginebra will still get the No. 3 seed due to a superior +5 point differential (1.02 quotient) over TNT (1 quotient) and San Miguel (0.98 quotient).
That means the Kings will meet Magnolia if the Hotshots, who currently hold a 5-5 card, remain in sixth place.
The KaTropa can still get to No. 3 if Ginebra loses its last two games. The KaTropa will win the tiebreaker over San Miguel by virtue of the winner-over-the-other rule as they beat the Beermen, 104-93, last January 27. The lowest the TNT can get is as fourth seed, which will mean a collision course with No. 5 San Miguel in the quarterfinals.
As mentioned, the Beermen could be facing TNT in the 4 vs 5 quarterfinals. One thing going for the Beermen is that they already defeated the KaTropa in the quarterfinals as a lower seed, doing so in the Commissioner’s Cup in a 3 vs 6 match-up. The Beermen though can still be at No. 4 and could still face Barangay Ginebra if the Kings land at fifth which could happen if they lose their final two games.
As for Magnolia, the highest the Hotshots can get is sixth place, and all they need is to win their last game against NLEX. But the Hotshots could still drop lower with a loss to the Road Warriors on April 3. But that’s for another story.