GlobalPort, Phoenix and Blackwater are battling to stay in the race for a slot in the eight-team quarterfinals as they face their respective rivals today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier will face Kia in the first game at 4:30 p.m. Globalport is tied with the Fuel Masters that are also holding a similar 4-5 win-loss record at No. 7 to No. 8 spots.
The Fuel Masters and the Elite are going to clash in a crucial match at 7 p.m.
Although they will be facing an already-eliminated team, GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio reminds his wards that the Picanto are still capable of upsetting any team because they have nothing to lose.
“They (Kia) know how to play basketball that’s why we are not going to take them lightly,” said Jarencio, adding that the Batang Pier are injury-free except Terrence Romeo who still rehabilitating a knee injury.
“After Kia, we still have a game against Phoenix. So we still have a good chance of making it to the quarterfinals. But we just have to win the game against Kia first.”
So far, the leading four teams in elimination are current champion San Miguel Beer (7-2), Magnolia (7-3), Northern Luzon Expressway (6-4) and Alaska (6-4). The last four slots are still up for grabs.
Kia, with 1-8 win-loss record, is already out of contention. The lone win (98-94) of the Picanto came at the expense of Rain or Shine last January 20.
After losing 90-92 to Meralco, Phoenix is bent on scoring a win against Blackwater. The Elite will be jumping into the fray without gunner Matthew Wright who will play for Gilas Pilipinas against the Australian squad in the 2018 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asian Qualifiers in Melbourne, starting Thursday.
At 4-5, the Fuel Masters must win their last two games to improve their chance of entering the quarters.
But Blackwater, at 4-6 win-loss record, is also on a “must win mode” against Phoenix for the same reason.
The Elite of coach Leo Isaac is coming off a 90-93 loss to NLEX last Sunday.
“It is a must win and I don’t have any more comments,” said Isaac, who will be playing without Allein Maliksi who is also in Australia as member of the Gilas Pilipinas team.