SAN MIG Coffee has two chances to seal its place in the top two and gain a valuable advantage in the semifinals — against cellar-dwelling Globalport in its penultimate elimination-round match and versus midtable Meralco at the end of its schedule.
The earlier the Mixers can get it done, the better.
A win over the also-ran Batang Pier on Friday at the MOA Arena will give the Mixers the No. 2 spot, a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals, and a chance to take it easy on the final elimination match in preparation for the playoffs of the Philippine Cup.
The Mixers take on the Batang Pier at 7:30 p.m. and coach Tim Cone has made clear the team has no intention of dilly-dallying as it tries to clinch the second twice-to-beat incentive after Talk ’N Text secured the first one last week via a 95-82 win over Petron.
The Mixers currently tote a 9-3 record, while the Tropang Texters are at 11-2.
Cone’s charges scored a 93-92 decision over third-running Rain or Shine last week, seriously denting the Elasto Painters’ bid for No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat incentive. The only chance now for Rain or Shine to steal No. 2 is if it wins its last elimination match and San Mig drops its last two, resulting in a tied record and a playoff game.
Against the Batang Pier in their first encounter, the Mixers went through anxious moments before scoring an 82-78 win.
“We just gotta worry about Globalport because they’re gonna play relaxed. We gotta go out and prepare for that game. We gotta clinch our spot on Friday,” said Cone, who's got an armada of gunners to lean on in their game against the Batang Pier.
James Yap will no doubt be at the forefront of San Mig Coffee’s offense, though additional scoring support is also expected from steady shooter Peter June Simon, Joe Devance and big men Yancy de Ocampo and Marc Pingris.
The Batang Pier, who officially bowed out of the playoffs following their 101-95 loss to the Alaska Aces in Dipolog City, are playing their final game in the Philippine Cup.
Globalport has lost its last nine games, including a lopsided 92-113 decision against Air21 on Wednesday night that saw Express forward KG Canaleta erupt for a career-high 41 points on six-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc.
The Batang Pier own a woeful 1-12 record, their lone win this conference scored at the expense of the Bolts, 105-104, on October 17 also at the MOA Arena.