THE playoff picture is getting clearer as the PBA Philippine Cup heads into its last two playdates starting on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
San Miguel Beer and Magnolia have already secured the top two spots that come with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against either the seventh or eighth seed.
Third-running Alaska, for its part, has already sealed a Top Six berth that will have the Aces play in a best-of-three series, while NLEX is on the verge of that situation that's more favorable than being in a twice-to-win disadvantage against either the Beermen or the Hotshots.
Meralco was the second team to be eliminated after Kia, leaving six teams gunning for the last four spots in the next round of the tournament.
Sixteen playoff scenarios remain, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Here’s how they stand as of Tuesday:
** - twice to beat
x – eliminated
Here are the games on Wednesday:
4:30 p.m. - TNT vs NLEX
7 p.m. - ROS vs SMB
And here’s what can happen to the four squads seeing action when the dust settles after the doubleheader heading into the final day of the eliminations:
The Beermen are just enjoying the view from top and can afford to lose to the Elasto Painters as they will still wound up at either No. 1 or 2. But don’t expect the three-time defending champions to just relax as they try to stay in shape and carry their momentum heading into the playoffs.
The Road Warriors are running fourth in the standings and a win against the Texters will secure their place in the Top Six. A loss, however, will endanger that spot and can see them drop to a twice-to-win disadvantage against either SMB or Magnolia, so expect sibling rivalry will be in full effect against the Texters.
The Elasto Painters are just one win away from clinching an outright playoff berth, but it’s a case of “so near, yet so far,” considering the Beermen and the Gin Kings are standing in their way. A win against the Beermen will not only book for them a ticket to the postseason, but also solidify their chances of a Top Six spot.
But losing their last two games will not only leave a dent in their Top Six bid, but also put their playoff hopes in jeopardy altogether – from having a chance at a Top Two spot had they won against Alaska last time.
The Texters are fighting for their playoff lives and are in a must-win situation against the Road Warriors, with a victory putting them in a tie with Blackwater for eighth spot and giving them a chance of at least a playoff for the last postseason spot. A loss, however, will eliminate them from contention.