THE elimination round of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup ends today and it still carries much pack with the final positioning and playoff berth at stake.
Set at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the San Miguel Beermen (5-5) tussle with the Meralco Bolts (3-7) in the 4:30 p.m. opener while the TNT KaTropa (9-1) battle the Magnolia Hotshots Ang Pambansang Manok (5-5) in the 7 p.m. main game.
The Beermen are currently on a roll, winning three straight to infuse life back to their once-flickering quarterfinal hopes.
A win today over Meralco would put San Miguel in either the fifth or sixth place, depending on the outcome of the second game since the Beermen have an identical card with the Hotshots.
If San Miguel and Magnolia win, the former drops to sixth place since it lost to the latter in their lone encounter in the elimination round. In such a setup, the Beermen will face the third-seeded Blackwater Elite in a best-of-three quarters with the fifth-seeds Hotshots setting up a date with the defending champions and fourth-seeds Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in a best-of-three “Manila Clasico” quarterfinals.
In the event San Miguel wins and Magnolia loses, the Beermen get fifth spot and face off with the Kings and the Hotshots fall to seventh and meet Northport Batang Pier (9-2) ¡with a twice-to-win disadvantage.
On the flip side if San Miguel loses and Magnolia wins, the former falls to sixth.
If San Miguel and Magnolia lose today, however, they fall to a three-way tie with the idle Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 5-6. In such a scenario, Magnolia takes fifth spot on the strength of having the highest quotient among the three with Rain or Shine getting sixth. The Beermen, with the worst quotient, drop to seventh and will face the second-seeded team Northport (9-2) with a twice-to-win disadvantage.
For Meralco, loser of its last five matches, today’s match with San Miguel is do-or-die.
A win takes the Bolts to 4-7, tied with the Alaska Aces and Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
But with a superior quotient over Phoenix, Meralco and Alaska will play in a playoff match for the eighth seed and the Fuel Masters outright eliminated.
In the event Meralco loses, it is outright eliminated, leaving the Aces and the Fuel Masters to dispute the final quarterfinal spot in a playoff.
TNT, meanwhile, is already assured of a top-two finish and a twice-to-win advantage in the quarterfinals.
A victory today over the Bolts pads TNT’s record to 10-1, earning number one seed and will take on the eighth seed which could either be Alaska, Phoenix or Meralco. A loss though drops the KaTropa to second behind Northport, which dealt them their lone loss in the tournament to date.