GLOBALPORT may have made it to the semifinals of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup, but the knockout format in the early part of the playoffs had not escaped the attention of coach Pido Jarencio.
The veteran coach said the ‘one miss, you die’ set-up is definitely to the disadvantage of teams which fared well enough in the eliminations in order to have a better seeding heading into the playoffs.
Under the format, teams seeded 3,4,5, and 6 enjoy a twice-to-beat edge against teams seeded 7, 8, 9, and 10 in the first part of the quarterfinal playoffs.
But survivors of the first-round duel each other in a knockout game for the right to meet the top two seeded teams in the semifinals.
“Kahit anong galing mo sa eliminations at hindi ka umabot sa (top) 1 and 2, may disgrasya ka,” noted Jarencio, whose Batang Pier were seeded fifth going to the playoffs.
“Grabe itong format na ito, magkamali ka lang ng isa, tapos ka e.”
The Batang Pier made short work of No. 8 team Barako Bull, 94-85, to arrange a win-or-go-home win against No. 4 Ginebra, which ousted ninth-seeded Star in overtime, 92-89.
GlobalPort went on to turn back Ginebra, 84-83, in another highly-emotional overtime thriller that saw the referees miss out on a five-second violation against Batang Pier guard Stanley Pringle in the final eight seconds and the Kings trailing by a single point.
Instead of turning his ire on game officials, Kings coach Tim Cone said it would be more proper for the league to revisit the playoffs format which he sees as flawed.
“I hope we do away with this format in the future,” said the league’s winningest coach.
“Mostly I just wish we didn’t have single knockout games in the playoffs. That kind of format doesn’t reward the best team – just the team who had the better shooting night, or the better referees' call, or the luckier shot down the stretch,” he added.
Jarencio couldn’t agree more.
“Disgrasya talaga, maa-out ka pa,” he said.
And though his team got the better of the Kings, Jarencio also had another satisfaction out of the win that arranged a semifinal showdown for the Batang Pier against no. 1 seed Alaska.
“At least nakabawi ako kay coach Tim kahit konti,” said Jarencio, whose team lost to Star when Cone was still its coach during the quarterfinal playoffs of last year’s Governors Cup.