BARANGAY Ginebra is on the verge of a possible top seed in the PBA Governors’ Cup with the Kings eyeing for that spot with a win over TNT on Sunday.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone, however, said the team isn’t eyeing to get that top seed, even saying that taking that first place in the team standings doesn’t mean much to him.
“It’s just pogi points at this point,” Cone said “Getting the number one seed, you don’t get an advantage over the number four and the bottom four teams, you don’t want to face any of them.”
Is Cone correct about the top seed? Based on history, yes.
Based on information collected from pbarecordsoddities.blogspot.com, since the current format was institutionalized in 2013 where the top four teams get a twice-to-beat advantage over the bottom four squads in the quarterfinals, no number one seed has won the Governors’ Cup crown. The 2013 Petron, the 2016 Alaska, and the 2017 Meralco all ended up at No. 1 after the elimination round but all lost in the championship round.
There was also no top seed that won the championship even during the 1999 to 2002 editions of the Governors’ Cup where the same format was implemented with the 1999 Purefoods, 2000 Mobiline, 2001 Shell, and 2002 Talk ‘N Text also not advancing to the finals.
In fact, the top-seeded 2002 Talk ‘N Text squad was even eliminated in the quarterfinals when they were edged by eighth-seed San Miguel by winning twice over the then Phone Pals, while the 2014 and 2016 TNT squads only ended up in the semifinals.
While Ginebra could become the top seed this conference, the Governors’ Cup is nevertheless friendly to Cone as he has won the crown in four out of the last five editions of the conference, with Ginebra and Star.
Only three bottom-seeded team have reached the semifinals under the current format, one of which was in 2015 when Star advanced to the Final Four after beating fourth-seed GlobalPort despite the Batang Pier’s twice-to-beat advantage.
That Star team was coached by, you guessed it, Cone.
While the first-seed team has not won a title in the Governors’ Cup for a while, the third-ranked teams have been the winningest, a fact that bodes well to the chances of Alaska, which has already secured the third spot this conference.
The third-seed team ruled the conference four times with 1999 San Miguel, the 2002 Purefoods, the 2016 and 2017 Ginebra capturing the crown.
Second-seeded teams, meanwhile, have won the crown thrice in 2001 Sta. Lucia, 2013 San Mig Coffee, and the 2015 San Miguel teams, while the fourth-seed have won once in the 2014 San Mig Coffee.
There is a notion that bottom-seed teams are at a disadvantage in the quarterfinals, but advancing to the next round isn’t impossible for them. Aside from the 2015 Star, another bottom-seed team that overcame a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals was the 2002 San Miguel squad, an eighth-seed team that edged Talk ‘N Text in the playoffs.
The other bottom-seed squad was also San Miguel, which finished at sixth in 2000 and eventually won the crown.
In total, bottom teams have forced a rubber match nine times, six of which ended up losing in the knockout game.
Will the trend continue? Let’s see.