Mad PBA scramble down the wire
The mad scramble for the top four quarterfinal slots continued with five teams still in contention to tie the leading Barangay Ginebra and NLEX squads or even grab the frontrunning positions after the eliminations of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
As of this writing, the Gin Kings still showed the way with seven wins against a lone defeat with the Road Warriors moving up to second at 7-2 with barely three weeks left in the single round battle to determine the top eight teams that will dispute the four semifinal slots in knockout matches.
Ginebra remained on top by picking up a seventh straight win at the expense of Blackwater, 98-81, last Friday while NLEX took advantage of the absence of GlobalPort star Stanley Pringle to keep its hopes alive for a twice-to-beat bonus reserved for the top four quarterfinalists.
NLEX escaped with a 109-99 decision over GlobalPort with Pringle missing the game to be with his sick father in the US.
Meralco, the early pacesetter until Ginebra’s streak, dealt a third straight loss on Star Saturday in Sta. Rosa Laguna,
96-90, and clung to third at 6-2.
TNT KaTropa followed at 5-3 with Star, Rain or Shine and grand slam-seeking San Miguel Beer tied for fifth at 4-3.
The Gin Kings and the Road Warriors have tough foes in their remaining schedule. The Kings were playing the Beermen at press time last night and then take on Rain or Shine and TNT in their last two outings.
The Road Warriors, on the other hand, have the Star Hotshots and the KaTropa as their closing rivals. Meralco also has SMB among its last three opponents.
After replacing the veteran Wendell McKines with Terik Bridgeman, who turned out, in two games, to be a terribly bad replacement, the Beermen were set to field a third import against the Gin Kings in Terrence Watson. If SMB pulls through, the Beermen will have an easy path to the Top 4 circle with lowly Kia and Phoenix among its final rivals.
Kia needs a miracle to win its last four games and hopefully tie Blackwater (4-5) for the No. 8 and last quarterfinal slot.
Phoenix (2-7) seemed doomed to end up 11th with Rain or Shine also among its final assignments.
Blackwater’s main worries so far are Alaska (2-6) and GlobalPort (3-5). The Aces have Kia, Meralco and Rain or Shine as final rivals while the Batang Pier still have to tackle the Hotshots, the Meralco Bolts and Blackwater. A tie for eighth place will be decided by a playoff while all other deadlocks will be settled by the PBA quotient system.
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