DON'T look now, but the playoff match-up everybody wants to see in the PBA Philippine Cup may happen not in the finals or the semifinals, but in the quarterfinals.
That is very much a possibility after a run of results put longtime rivals Barangay Ginebra and Purefoods on a collision course in the first round of the playoffs of the season-opening tournament.
The league's two most popular teams will end facing each other at the start of the playoffs if three things happen in the final stretch of the single-round eliminations.
One, Rain or Shine must beat Ginebra (6-4) on Sunday. Two, Purefoods (5-5) must win over Barako Bull and, three, GlobalPort (5-5) must beat Meralco (5-5).
Such a scenario will have Ginebra, Purefoods, and GlobalPort ending up in a tie for the fifth to seventh spots at the end of the elims, and the Batang Pier grabbing the No. 5 spot by virtue of a higher quotient - thanks to their 98-77 walloping of the Kings in their only meeting so far this season.
Ginebra and Purefoods will then end up at No. 6 and 7, respectively, with the Kings enjoying twice-to-beat advantage over the reigning grand slam champions.
Such a showdown should be mouth-watering, considering the success of playoff showdowns pitting the two storied rivals in the past.
The last time the two teams met in the playoffs, they ended up attracting a then record crowd of 24,883 fans to Game Seven of their Philippine Cup semifinal series last season.
That seven-game series which Purefoods won ended up attracting an average turnout of 17,373 per game.
Purefoods still holds a 3-2 edge over Ginebra in their series duels.