March 15, 2019
With only nine playing days remaining in the elimination round, and three teams, so far, had made it to the quarterfinal phase, the race for the Final Four seats of the PBA Philippine Cup has turned muddy.
Defending champion San Miguel Beer had just joined early qualifiers Phoenix Pulse and Rain or Shine, leaving the nine other squads fight for the first to win six and the remaining five seats in the next round.
Besides officially laying claim to one quarterfinals berth, the Beermen, likewise, joined the Elasto Painters and the Fuel Masters in the race for the No.1 and No. 2 spots.
The question being asked now is: Are the league-leading Fuel Masters (8-2) and the Elasto Painters (7-3) capable of staying in their precarious 1-2 positions amid the expected push from the Beermen and other contenders.
The Beermen (6-3) are lurking over the Painters, and the Fuel Masters ready to grab one of the much- coveted goal. For winning all four of their last assignments following a listless start, it looks not too remote a possibility that the five-peat seeking Beermen can achieve what they’re seeking. .
Coach Leo Austria’s boys are meeting the coach Louie Alas’ charges on Saturday in a lone out-of-town showdown in Panabo City in Davao where a victory would hand the Beermen either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed with a potential seventh win in 10 tries.
Today, is Talk ‘Text’s turn to make it to the quarters when it faces Alaska in the hope of reaching the magic six win at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
RoS, for its part, plays Meralco to keep its grip of second place intact also today. ,
The erstwhile solo leader Elasto Painters lower the curtains in their elimination round campaign on March 27 against Magnolia.
On Wednesday night, meanwhile, the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok demolished Columbian Dyip, 109-83, to continue trekking the long, winding road toward salvaging a slot in the quarters.
That was the Purefoods franchise’s only third win in seven games that created a three-way logjam among them, NLEX and Alaska, all with identical 3-4 win-loss slate.
This happened after the Road Warriors ran roughshod over the Aces, 91-70 on Wednesday’s other contest at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite these defeats, Columbian, with an even 5-5 card, remained in the now muddy fight for the required six wins and a berth in the Final Eight and so are the Talk ‘N Text Kartropa (5-3) , Barangay Ginebra (4-3), Meralco (3-5), Alaska, and however slim their chances are, even the lowly NorthPort (2-5) and Blackwater (2-7).
For emerging winner of last season’s Governors’ Cup, Magnolia was given the privilege of a much-needed rest to enjoy their latest title victory, allowing the Hotshots to start its Philippine Cup campaign late.
As a result, the Pambansang Manok will have to play more games than the other teams with five spread in the remaining playing days from this coming Sunday till the elimination-round ending April 3.
Three of their assignments are scheduled one after another from Sunday, against the Kings, Wednesday, against Batang Pier and Friday, against the Painters.
The rest of Magnolia’s hectic schedule are March 27 against Rain or Shine and April 3 against NLEX.
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