THE battle for the No. 2 seed is bound to further intensify as Alaska Aces and the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters figure in a crucial tussle in the homestretch of the elimination round of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association.
With several teams still in the running for the No. 2 ranking and the twice-to-beat incentive that comes with it, the battle between the Fuel Masters (6-4) and the Aces (5-4) at 7 p.m. at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City tonight will have a lot at stake.
Preceding that is a no-bearing game between already ousted teams Mahindra Floodbuster and NLEX Road Warriors, which share the bottom with 2-7 marks, at 4:15 p.m. to open the show.
Phoenix, which is currently tied for second and third places with TNT KaTropa, is already assured of a seat in the quarterfinals but looking further, it wants to finish strong and possibly claim the No. 2 seed when the dust clears.
For Alaska, wants to formalize its entry to the quarters when they battle the Fuel Masters. A victory will allow Alaska to safely advance to the next phase while also keeping alive its hope of landing the No. 2 ranking.
At the moment, there are only several things certain with defending champion San Miguel Beer already a lock at No. 1, Phoenix and TNT KaTropa are the other two teams who have locked up slots in the quarterfinals. Meralco Bolts, NLEX and Mahindra are already eliminated.
Five more tickets are available. Six teams: Alaska, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, GlobalPort Batang Pier, Star Hotshots, Blackwater Elite and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are all neck-to-neck and battling to move forward with one of them eventually being ousted.
“We need this win to give ourselves a chance at landing at No. 2,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia of his team’s game against Alaska.
“We’re grateful to still have our fate in our own hands at this point. Hopefully we can have a strong finish to end up with the best possible placing for us,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
Both Phoenix and Alaska won convincingly last Sunday.
The Fuel Masters earned a huge win over the Gin Kings, 79-73. The Aces took care of business as they dispatched Mahindra, 107-91.