July 17, 2019
San Miguel Beer and Meralco clash for an important win today, while TNT KaTropa seeks the No. 1 spot at the end of the elimination round of Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen (5-5 win-loss record) must hurdle the Bolts at 4:30 p.m. to remain at No. 5 in the best-of-three quarterfinals series.
“It’s a very important game and we cannot rely on the result of the other match. We want to be in the best-of-three quarterfinals. If we lose, there’s a possibility that we’re going to face the twice-to-beat Northport,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.
A win by San Miguel Beer over Meralco means the Beermen will be facing next either No. 4 Barangay Ginebra San Miguel or No. 3 Blackwater.
The Bolts (3-7) also need to win against San Miguel Beer to forge a sudden-death playoff match with Alaska for the last quarterfinal ticket.
A defeat by the Bolts will eliminate Meralco and allow Phoenix Pulse (4-7) to take their place in a do-or-die battle with the Aces.
If TNT and Meralco prevail over their respective foes, the Beermen will emerge No. 7 spot and will face twice-to-beat Northport (9-2).
But if Magnolia, TNT and San Miguel Beer win, the Beermen will emerge No. 6 to face No. 3 Blackwater.
If the Hotshots lost and the Beermen won, the Gin Kings will meet No. 5 San Miguel Beer in the best-of-three quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, the KaTropa (9-1) are keen on securing the No. 1 spot as they face Magnolia (5-5) in the 7 p.m. second game.
“We’re just going to play our game which is to lock in on our defense and keep attacking on offense. Our goal is to win each game,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
Should Magnolia lost to TNT, a victory by San Miguel Beer over Meralco won’t be enough to save the Hotshots from dropping to No. 7 and booking a match against twice-to-beat holder Northport in the quarters.
There is a strong chance that Magnolia and Ginebra would battle it out in the best-of-three quarterfinals if the Hotshots and San Miguel Beer win their last assignment.
A Magnolia-Ginebra best-of-three quarterfinal collision remains a possibility even if Meralco and TNT win.
A loss by TNT after a seven-game winning run will put them at No. 2, while automatically catapulting Northport to No. 1.
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