Sports: Tight Race for Governor’s Cup Playoffs
With a league-leading 7-1 win-loss card, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are assured of the No. 1 seeding in the playoffs of the Governor’s Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association’s 37th season with eight other teams contesting for the five other berths as of this writing.
Only Alaska, with the Aces’ mediocre 1-7 record, is out of the running in the season-ending tourney of the PBA. Neophyte Alaska mentor Luigi Trillo’s wards battled the Express last night in the first game of a Wednesday twinbill at the Big Dome.
In the nightcap, Talk ‘N Text and B-Meg were to meet with the winner assured of a quarterfinals stint in this import-laced conference although the Llamados have the inside track with their 5-2 card. TNT is 4-3 prior to their outing with B-Meg and a win will cast away all doubts for the Tropang Texters’ entry into the playoffs.
It can be recalled that Talk ‘N Text lost its first two games against sister team Meralco and lowly Air21 in the Governor’s Cup before manhandling Petron, 102-87, last May 30. Coach Chot Reyes’ boys then succumbed to Powerade three days later via a 110-105 setback for a poor 1-3 start.
However, TNT won three in a row by beating Alaska by eight points followed by a 109-89 shellacking of Barako Bull and highlighted by a close 113-111 squeaker of a win recorded against Barangay Ginebra in an eight-day stretch as the Tropang Texters regained their composure following a disastrous start.
Talk ‘N Text will have Rain or Shine as its final foe on July 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and chances are, they’ll be in the quarters. As for B-Meg, the Llamados will battle the Tigers in Legazpi City this coming Saturday and they too are assured of at least a quarters seat in the Third Conference.
B-Meg might even take the second automatic semis berth if Coach Tim Cone’s charges defeat TNT and Powerade in their final elimination round assignments. The Llamados, however, are fresh from their June 17 loss to Petron in a 92-80 defeat.
Ginebra, Meralco, Petron and Powerade are bunched in the middle of the team standings with identical 4-4 win-loss marks and the possibility of a playoff for the final quarterfinals seat is in the offing if and when there’d be a standoff in the final team classification.
The crowd favorites will battle Barako Bull on Friday while the Bolts meet the Energy on the final playdate of the Governor’s Cup on July 1, a Sunday. On the other hand, Petron will test the mettle of a dangerous Air21 side also this coming Friday with the Tigers battling the Llamados on Saturday in the PBA’s final road game of the elims.
Sister teams Barako Bull (3-4) and Air21 (2-5) are mathematically in the running for the last playoff berth although their chances will depend on their final classification round outings. A much more complicated scenario would have ROS, B-Meg and three other teams advancing while a playoff would determine the sixth and final quarterfinals slot.
If the Express win over Alaska and Petron, Air21 will end up with a 4-5 card while if Barako Bull beats Ginebra but losses to Meralco or the other way around, the Energy will also finish with a 4-5 win-loss mark. If these things happen, the best two teams will battle for the No. 6 spot while the team(s) with the lower quotient will eventually join the Aces in the sidelines.
Remember, only six teams will advance to the quarters with the top two teams assured of automatic semis berths: Rain or Shine or either between B-Meg or Talk ‘N Text. So the best thing to do for the other teams still in contention is to win games in order to qualify!*
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