THE PBA Philippine Cup is down to its last elimination-round playdate on Wednesday, after which the playoff picture becomes clear.
San Miguel Beer has long secured the top spot and the first twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, finishing the regular season with a 10-1 win-loss record, while Mahindra, Meralco, and NLEX are already out of the playoff picture.
Alaska and Star are the remaining two teams in the running for the second seed and the second win-once incentive in the first round of the playoffs.
Only one postseason spot is up for grabs with Rain or Shine currently occupying the eighth spot and Blackwater on the outside looking in.
Here's how they stand:
2. Alaska 6-4
3. Star 6-4
4. TNT 6-5
5. Globalport 6-5
6. Ginebra 6-5
7. Phoenix 6-5
8. ROS 5-5
9. Blackwater 5-6
And here are Wednesday’s games at the Cuneta Astrodome:
4:15 p.m. - Star vs Mahindra
7 p.m. Alaska vs Rain or Shine
With reference to the unofficial scenarios computed by chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, we list what each team needs to do, either to secure the second seed or catch the last bus to the playoffs.
The Aces are tied with Star in second spot and they simply need a win over Rain or Shine in the main game to clinch the No. 2 spot, regardless of the result of the curtain-raiser. Even if the Hotshots beat Mahindra, Alaska still claims second spot over Star owing to the winner-over-the other rule. In that case, the Aces will face either Ginebra or Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs.
A loss to the Elasto Painters will drop the Aces to third seed regardless of the result of the first game, leaving them in a best-of-three series against their tormentors.
The Hotshots will get the second seed whether they win or lose to the Floodbuster if the E-Painters beat the Aces, setting up a quarterfinal date against Ginebra.
Also regardless of the result, the Hotshots can also drop to third spot if Alaska takes the W in the first game, leaving them in a best-of-three series against Phoenix or an early classic affair against Ginebra.
Rain or Shine
The E-Painters will avoid complications and clinch a playoff spot right away if they beat Alaska, moving two spots up to sixth seed in a best-of-three battle against the Aces.
A loss to the Aces will keep Blackwater alive and set up a playoff against the Elite for the last spot with the winner facing the Beermen in the first round with a twice-to-win disadvantage.
The idle Elite can only hope for the E-Painters to lose to the Aces to stay alive and force a playoff for the eighth seed.