Chism, Hotshots fight for life
Only the fight for No. 1 has been settled with the final seven positions behind runaway frontrunner Rain or Shine up for grabs in the last three playing schedules this week of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Before the league took a break to give way for Gilas Pilipinas’ stint in the third window of the Fiba World Cup 2019 Asian qualifiers, the Elasto Painters hacked out a fourth overtime victory, this time over the Meralco Bolts, 106-99, last Sunday to clinch top spot with a 9-1 win-loss record.
Even if Rain or Shine drops its last game against TNT KaTropa this Saturday, the Painters are assured of ruling the one-round eliminations and grabbing the twice-to-beat incentive against the eighth and last qualifier in the quarterfinals.
Meralco finished with a 7-4 record behind the 7-3 marks of TNT and Alaska, which took a 105-86 whipping from Barangay Ginebra later Saturday.
The Aces can still take solo second—and the other twice-to-beat bonus—with a win over the Phoenix Fuelmasters (4-6) on Friday.
If TNT beats ROS to keep its tie with Alaska, the Aces would be ranked No. 2 for their earlier 110-100 win over the KaTropa.
If both Alaska and TNT drop their final games, the ensuing three-way tie with Meralco for second would favor the Bolts under the PBA quotient system since they have earlier beaten the Aces and the KaTropa.
Defending champion San Miguel Beer can also wind up with a 7-4 card with an expected win over tailender Blackwater (1-9) this Wednesday and another victory over slumping Magnolia (4-5) Saturday. But with earlier losses to the Bolts and the Aces, the Beermen are doomed to end up in the company of the four qualifiers that will play in separate best-of-three series in the quarterfinals.
Magnolia also has a Wednesday date with NLEX
(2-8) and needs a win to stay alive even as Barangay Ginebra and GlobalPort break their 5-5 tie on Friday with the winner clinching the No. 6 qualifying slot.
With a split in its last two games, Magnolia and the loser of the Ginebra-GlobalPort duel can still advance as the last two qualifiers at 5-6. But if Phoenix can also finish at 5-6 with an upset over Alaska, the PBA quotient will be used to rank the seventh qualifier with the remaining two deciding the eighth spot in a playoff.
With back-to-back losses no longer an option, Magnolia is fielding a fourth import in veteran Wayne Chism, who played three seasons for Rain or Shine and last year for NLEX.
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