San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel just need to hurdle past their respective foes today to claim the twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup.
The Beermen and the Gin Kings, both toting identical 8-2 win-loss slates, face GlobalPort and Mahindra, respectively, on the last day of the elimination phase at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel squares off with Batang Pier (4-6) in the opener at 4:15 p.m. with the latter seeking a win that will formalize their entry into the next round. Ginebra meets the Floodbuster (3-7) at 7 p.m.
Mahindra, even if it wins, is already out of the race for a quarterfinals seat.
Waiting the results of the games of the Beermen and the Gin Kings is the Star, currently leading solo with a 9-2 mark. If San Miguel and Ginebra win their respective matches, the Hotshots will be relegated to third spot due to inferior quotient and will settle for the best-of-three quarterfinals series against the No. 6 seed team.
A loss by either the Beermen or the Gin Kings will put Star in the top two positions.
“We should keep our focus and don’t take our opponent for granted,” said San Miguel head coach Austria, whose team is coming from a 124-113 win over Blackwater.
“We must keep our good playing habits all the time. Since the start of this conference, everybody wants to win against us,” he added.
Import Charles Rhodes, who is averaging 27.8 points and 11 rebounds per game, has been carrying the load for the Beermen along with three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot.
Meanwhile, Ginebra’s multi-titled mentor Tim Cone is aware that Mahindra is coming off back-to-back wins and they will play with less pressure.
“Needless to say, we really want that top seed. That makes our game against Mahindra crucial to us,” said Cone, whose team is on a three games winning streak.
“That doesn’t mean that just because we want it we’re going to get it. You are never given anything in our league, you always have earned it, and we’ll have to earn it with our hard work and execution. Nothing comes easy in the PBA,” he added.
GlobalPort just needs to win its final game to secure a spot in the round and a loss would put them in a more complicated situation. A loss by Batang Pier and a win by Mahindra will create a four-way tie at the bottom along with the Fuel Masters and the Aces at 4-7.
In this case, Alaska will take the No. 7 spot by virtue of +26 quotient while Phoenix (+19) and GlobalPort (-21) will figure in a playoff for the last quarterfinals spot at No. 8. The Floodbuster (-24) have the worst quotient among the four teams hence they got the boot.
A win by Batang Pier will give them the No. 6 seed and relegate Rain or Shine to No. 7. Alaska and Phoenix will play in the playoff for the No. 8 spot.