A MARQUEE Ginebra vs Purefoods series won't happen, but there are still plenty of exciting match-ups to look forward to when the knockout-style PBA Philippine Cup playoffs begin on Thursday.
A showdown between the two most popular squads in the league was averted when Meralco beat GlobalPort, 82-70, at the end of the single-round eliminations on Tuesday night at the Astrodome.
Now a Ginebra-Purefoods tussle will only be possible in the finals since they are in separate brackets.
Ginebra, Meralco, and Purefoods actually ended up in joint fifth on 6-5 win-loss records but the Gins secured the fifth seeding and the twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs by virtue of a higher quotient.
The Bolts took the No. 6 spot and the final twice-to-beat edge when they square off against Purefoods, with the Hotshots' quest for a fifth successive league championship on the line.
The Gins took the fifth seed and will face Globalport, which dropped to eighth spot with the loss to Meralco. The Ginebra-Globalport series begins on Friday.
Purefoods coach Tim Cone said they just have to find a way to return to the finals.
“Bottom line is, that’s where we are,” the two-time grand slam coach said. “We’ll try to win one game first and see what will happen.”
In other first round pairings, third-seed Alaska battles the 10th-ranked NLEX Road Warriors, who made the playoffs in their first conference in the league. Their series starts on Thursday.
Fourth-ranked Talk ‘N Text slugs it out with ninth-place Barako Bull in the other pairing set to be played on Friday.