Rain or Shine, Alaska gun for crucial wins as race for top two outright semis berths heats up
Coaches Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine and Alaska's Alex Compton are both looking to win their final elimination round game in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.

SAN Miguel Beer may have enjoyed the view from the top of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup elimination round, but Rain or Shine and Alaska are still knocking on the door for the two outright berths in the semifinals.

This is how the top three teams currently stand going to the penultimate day of the elimination-round on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum:

SMB 9-2

ROS 8-2

Alaska 8-2

 And the games that have implications on the race that will see only the top two teams advance to the semifinals outright:

3 p.m. Alaska vs Barako Bull

5:15 p.m. ROS vs NLEX


Although they already have one foot inside the Final Four, the Beermen’s 103-97 loss to Alaska in their last game of the regular season on Wednesday, left the defending champions in a precarious situation, and a worst-case scenario will see them drop to as low as third and settling for a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.

“Alam naman namin yung consequences in the quarterfinals,” SMB coach Leo Austria said after his team’s loss to the Aces. “Although mayroon kang twice to beat, but after that, yung next phase is a knockout and you can never know what will happen dahil nandun yung Ginebra, GlobalPort, and Talk ‘N Text. Hindi mo alam sino makakatapat mo.”

“Unlike na automatic ka nasa semifinals, ang laki ng chances mo to get into the finals,” he added. “Yun ang nakakapanghinayang dahil I keep on addressing that kind of situation to the team.”

Three other scenarios, though, favor the reigning all-Filipino conference champions, although the Aces proved to be the spoilers.

“We gave ourselves a shot at a good place in the standings,” Aces coach Alex Compton said.

Here are the four possible scenarios that may arise after Saturday’s crucial double-header.


Scenario 1


Alaska beats Barako Bull

Rain or Shine beats NLEX

 This is the only scenario that has a negative effect on the Beermen as Rain or Shine, which beat SMB and the Aces in the elimination round, will claim the top seed and go through the semis automatically, leaving SMB and Alaska in a playoff for the second seed and the other outright semis seat.

“It’s going to be like a playoff game for us,” Painters coach Yeng Guiao said.


Scenario 2

Alaska loses to Barako

ROS beats NLEX


Scenario 3

Alaska beats Barako

ROS loses to NLEX

SMB will advance to the semis right away and whoever wins between Alaska and ROS will follow suit to the Last Four, forcing the loser to settle for third seed and a twice-to-beat edge in the first round of the playoffs.


Scenario 4

Alaska loses to Barako

ROS loses to NLEX

SMB clinches an automatic semis berth, leaving Alaska and the E-Painters to figure in a playoff for the second seed.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos