THE race to the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs has reached fever pitch with the elimination round down to its last three days.
Five teams have booked playoff spots, while three teams are already out of contention, leaving four ballclubs – namely Alaska, Phoenix, NLEX, and Rain or Shine – vying for the last three postseason tickets with one squad unfortunately missing out on the playoff bus.
The Aces, Fuel Masters, and Road Warriors are all tied in sixth spot with similar 5-5 win-loss records, giving them some breathing room as they are assured of at least a playoff if they lose their remaining games in the eliminations.
The Elasto Painters, however, are in the most precarious position among the four teams at 4-6, leaving them in a must-win situation in their last game to stay alive.
Here are the standings as of Tuesday:
x Globalport 3-7
x Star 2-8
x Blackwater 1-8
** - twice to beat
* - playoffs
x – eliminated
Here are the remaining games that have bearing for the postseason aspirants:
September 14, Wednesday (Ynares, Antipolo) – Ginebra vs Phoenix
Sept. 16, Friday (MOA Arena) – Alaska vs NLEX; Rain or Shine vs Star
League head of statisticians Fidel Mangonon III said there are still 32 out of 64 scenarios that have significance at this point, but here are basically what each team needs to advance:
A win in their last game against the Aces automatically lands the Road Warriors safely into the playoffs, settling for sixth place due to a lower quotient than Meralco, Mahindra, and Phoenix – that is if the Fuel Masters also triumph over the Gin Kings to finish with a 6-5 record.
NLEX can still advance outright as the seventh seed even with a loss to Alaska, but only if Phoenix loses to Ginebra and Rain or Shine wins over Star — which in turn creates a three-way tie at 5-6. The Road Warriors own the higher quotient over both the Fuel Masters and Elasto Painters should they end up in such a scenario. Meanwhile, Rain or Shine and Phoenix will end up slugging it out for the last slot in such a scenario.
The Aces can go as high as joint fourth that entails a playoff for a twice-to-beat incentive if they win against NLEX — that is if Phoenix wins its last game over Ginebra. Should those events happen, Alaska will end up in a playoff against Meralco for the fourth seed in a virtual best-of-three quarterfinal matchup as it owns a higher quotient over Mahindra and Phoenix.
But if the Aces win and the Fuel Masters lose, Alaska will settle for sixth seed while Meralco battles Mahindra in the playoff for fourth place as the Aces have the lowest quotient among the three teams tied with a 6-5 record.
A loss to NLEX means Alaska will face Phoenix if the Fuel Masters loses to the Gin Kings and Rain or Shine wins over Star, creating a three-way tie at 5-6, where the E-Painters have the highest quotient.
But should both Rain or Shine and Phoenix win their final games while Alaska falls to NLEX, the Aces will face the E-Painters for the right to enter the quarterfinals.
The Fuel Masters also have a chance at joint fourth if they win against Ginebra and NLEX defeats Alaska, awarding Phoenix a playoff with Meralco.
The Fuel Masters will end up at seventh even with a win against the Gin Kings if Alaska beats NLEX.
If Phoenix loses, the rookie Davao-based franchise will still clinch the quarterfinals outright if Rain or Shine falls to Star. If Rain or Shine wins over Star, the Fuel Masters will play either Alaska (if the Aces fall to NLEX) or the Elasto Painters (if the Aces defeat the Road Warriors) for the last spot.
RAIN OR SHINE:
Rain or Shine faces a must-win battle against an eliminated, yet starving Star team to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Once they get past the Hotshots, ROS is assured of the seventh seed if NLEX beats Alaska and if Ginebra takes down Phoenix, leaving the Aces in a playoff with the Fuel Masters for the last ticket to the playoffs.
The E-Painters will have to go through a playoff with Phoenix if Alaska beats NLEX and the Fuel Masters fall to the Gin Kings. But if Rain or Shine, Phoenix and Alaska win their last assignments, the E-Painters take on the Road Warriors for the final slot.