Exciting PBA Governors’ Cup finish on both ends
San Miguel Beer stayed barely alive in the torrid fight for a Top 4 finish even as the last two slots of the eight-team quarterfinal cast of the PBA Governors’ Cup became a four-way race going into the last seven days of eliminations.
Behind a blazing finish sparked by former Utah Jazz guard Kevin Murphy, the Beermen rolled back the TNT KaTropa, 107-96, in Calasiao, Pangasinan, Saturday and moved up to sixth place with a 4-4 win-loss card.
With a relatively light schedule in their last three games, the Beermen can finish with seven wins and contend for one of two premium slots also being eyed by Alaska, Blackwater and Phoenix Petroleum while trailing co-leaders and potential top four qualifiers Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia.
Alaska and Blackwater, tied for third at 6-2, were playing at press time last night with the favored Aces expected to later match the 7-2 slates of Ginebra and Magnolia. The loser can still join the magic circle of four by winning its last two games.
Phoenix, at 6-3, also needs to sweep its final two matches to boost its qualifying chances, including a key meeting against Blackwater on Nov. 4.
As things stand, SMB’s only chance rests on Blackwater dropping its last three outings then edging Phoenix for the No. 4 slot under the winner-over-the-other rule.
If it’s any consolation, the Beermen are virtually assured of advancing to the next round where the four qualifiers outside of the top four need to win twice to reach the semifinals.
The last two quarterfinal berths have yet to be decided, however, with TNT and NLEX tied for seventh at 4-5 and back-to-back tournament runner-up Meralco running ninth at 4-6 and Rain or Shine 10th at 2-6.
Already out of it are NorthPort (2-7) and Columbian Dyip which ended its nine-game losing run by downing Rain or Shine, 100-84, Wednesday. The shocker was followed by Meralco’s 94-88 upset of Magnolia.
TNT and NLEX both face tough foes this week. The Ka-Tropa will tangle with Magnolia this Friday and Ginebra two days later. The Road Warriors will tackle the Aces also on Friday and the Rain or Shine Painters on Nov. 3. Only the deadlock for No. 8 will be decided by a playoff with the PBA quotient to settle all other ties.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.