THE race to the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup is heating up as the elims hits its final stretch.
TNT and NorthPort have secured the two twice-to-beat spots, but there's a lot left to be settled. The battle for the next four places has been particularly interesting with talk of a possible face-off between San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra.
After a slow start, San Miguel has picked up the pace with new import Chris McCullough, winning two straight games to move up to seventh place on a 4-5 win-loss record. Ginebra is tied with Blackwater in third on 6-4 slates.
Both Ginebra coach Tim Cone and SMB star Arwind Santos have come out to say that a meeting between the two sister teams early in the playoffs is the last thing they want to see. But what are the odds, really?
A check by SPIN.ph on possible scenarios heading into the final stretch of eliminations games revealed a Ginebra-San Miguel quarterfinal series will happen if a four-way tie at 6-5 occurs.
Before we explain, keep in mind that the tournament format calls for the No. 3 facing No. 6 and No. 4 taking on No. 5 in best-of-three quarterfinals series. The top two seeds will have twice-to-beat advantage against No. 7 and 8.
Here is the current standings of the five teams immediately behind leader TNT and NorthPort as well as their next opponents:
3 Ginebra 6-4 (Columbian)
3 Blackwater 6-4 (Alaska)
5 Rain or Shine 5-5 (San Miguel)
5 Magnolia 5-5 (TNT)
7 San Miguel 4-5 (Rain or Shine, Meralco)
A four-way tie at 6-5 ensues if Ginebra and Blackwater lose their remaining game, Magnolia beats TNT, and San Miguel sweep their final two matches against Rain or Shine and Meralco.
Should that happen, here's how the standings will look like at the end of the eliminations (plus the tiebreak quotient of the teams involved in the tie):
3 Ginebra 6-5 (+23 point differential)
4 Magnolia 6-5 (+10)
5 Blackwater 6-5 (-15)
6 San Miguel 6-5 (-18)
As shown, Ginebra will take the third spot due to a superior point differential, thanks to a 21-point victory over Magnolia. The Hotshots will secure the No. 4 spot by virtue of a 36-point win over San Miguel.
Can Ginebra avoid a meeting against San Miguel if it wins over Columbian on Sunday? Not necessarily.
So let’s say Ginebra wins against Columbian, Blackwater wins over Alaska, Magnolia loses over TNT, and San Miguel wins its final two games. This is what will happen:
3 Blackwater 7-4
4 Ginebra 7-4
5 San Miguel 6-5
6 Rain or Shine/Magnolia/Phoenix 5-6
Even with a win over Columbian, Blackwater will occupy the third spot due to its one-point victory over Ginebra, which will in turn slide to fourth. The fifth spot will end up with San Miguel, with Magnolia dropping to sixth.
So Ginebra, win or lose, could be seeing San Miguel in the quarterfinals.