The Alaska Aces, who haven’t played in more than two weeks, certainly looked like they put their rest period to good use. They led for the entire game in their surprise 89-75 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, who were substantial favorites heading into the contest.
The ‘never say die’ squad weren’t able to pull off another gutsy comeback like the one they had on Wednesday against the Phoenix Fuel Masters, where they came back from a 19-point deficit and finished with a 94-87 victory.
This time, they simply didn’t have an answer for the Aces, who blitzed them in the first quarter to the tune of a 23-8 score, and the Aces never finished another period without a double-digit lead. In fact, they were up by over 20 points in the fourth and stifled any comeback attempts.
The loss puts the PBA Bubble champs in a precarious position, as they now sit in 9th place with only one game to play, meaning that the best record they can finish with is 5-6 if they win their last contest. They’re currently 1-3 over their last four games.
If they finish with that 5-6 record, it’s not impossible for them to make the playoffs, albeit with a low seed and needing the two chances to win to advance past the first round. They’ve got other people to fight against though, and will be keeping an eye on the following teams:
- NLEX Road Warriors (5-5)
- NorthPoint Batang Pier (4-5)
- Alaska Aces (3-5)
This weekend, they’ll be taking a close look at the games between the NorthPoint Batang Pier and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (6-4), along with Alaska’s two games against the lead-leading Tropang Giga (finished 10-1) and Terrafirma Dyip (currently 3-7).
The brutal three games in three days for Alaska will be of importance to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as losing their Saturday and Sunday games would put the Aces at a 3-6 clip. Alaska lost the game against TNT, putting them to a 3-5 record with three games left to play. The Aces may simply be too exhausted to get a decent game up by the time they take on the Dyip.
There’s a chance for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, along with the three other lower seeds above, to all finish with a 5-6 record. That would create an interesting scenario, because then that would mean four teams will have the same record with only three playoff spots available at the bottom of the top eight.
It’s not over ’til it’s over, and this wild and unpredictable race certainly adds a lot of drama to the last few game days. We may not know the final answer until the end of next week, but there’s still a lot to play for.