Tim Cone: Star needs to win six of next seven games to earn a Top Four spot in playoffs
Tim Cone has laid down the mission for his struggling Hotshots. Jaime Campos

AS per Tim Cone’s mathematics, Star needs to win six of its last seven games in the PBA Governors Cup eliminations to guarantee a Top Four finish heading into the playoffs.

A daunting task indeed, but one which Cone said the Hotshots will have to do starting Wednesday when they collide against dangerous Alaska at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is 7 p.m.

“We’re almost out of the running for the Top Four already so we gotta get it going,” said Cone, whose team is currently tied for ninth to 10th spots with Rain or Shine on 1-3 win-loss records. 

“(To get to the) Top Four, we probably (need to win) seven. Seven (wins) gives you a pretty good chance, which means we need to win six of last seven games, a tall order with a lot of good teams ahead,” he added.

Star started its title defense on wobbly legs by squeaking past NLEX, 89-85, before losing three straight - 89-91 to GlobalPort, 81-83 to Meralco, and 89-100 to San Miguel Beer just last Sunday.

As gargantuan the task is, the American coach chose to be optimistic, saying every game from here on is a 50-50 chance to win.

“We just take it one game at a time. That’s daunting, but let’s see what we can do. Our chance right now is 50-50. That’s our focus,” he added.

Despite the current woes of the Star, Alaska coach Alex Compton is still not taking chances, saying the Hotshots are not the defending champions for nothing.

“I don’t know if there’s a time that Purefoods is more dangerous than now. They are champions and they have been in this position before,” said Compton, whose team suffered a tough 104-103 loss to Talk ‘N Text last week.

The Aces are currently in a three-way logjam for second spot with the Tropang Texters and KIA Carnival at 3-1, although Alaska has a chance to seize solo second place with a victory.

Alaska, however, will be in for a tough contest, having gone 0-3 against Star.

The Hotshots ripped apart the Aces, 108-88 in the eliminations of the Commissioner’s Cup, before smashing the Uytengsu-owned franchise, 120-86 and 96-89 to complete a two-game sweep of their best-of-three quarterfinals series.

“We expect a long, tough, intense, tiring battle and we know we will have to bring our best effort if we expect to get a chance to win,” said Compton.


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