As we approach the tail end of the conference, teams are trying to make their final push to enter the top four in the standings and the twice-to-beat advantage in the 2020 Philippine Cup.
As of right now, only Barangay Ginebra is assured of the advantage after finishing with an 8-3 record.
The rest of the playoff picture will be decided in the final day of the elimination round.
Phoenix, TNT, Alaska, San Miguel, Meralco, Rain or Shine and Magnolia all secured their playoff spots but the final four is yet still not complete.
The playoff picture looks like this heading into the last day:
- **Barangay Ginebra – 8-3
- Phoenix – 7-3
- TNT – 7-4
- San Miguel – 7-4
- Alaska – 7-4
- Meralco – 6-4
- Rain or Shine – 6-4
- Magnolia – 6-4
** – Twice-to-beat
San Miguel won their game tonight against NorthPort, 120-99, which allowed the Beermen to overtake Alaska and take the fourth seed. For now.
The Bolts, Hotshots, Fuel Masters and Elasto Painters will all be in action tomorrow.
Meralco will be taking on the Batang Pier, while Magnolia will be against Blackwater. Phoenix and Rain or Shine will cap off the elimination round in a game that will have a lot on the line.
All of these games are a must see, as seven teams are all fighting to get one of the three seats available in the top four.
The picture is convoluted, so bear with me as I explain.
Meralco, who will take on NorthPort, have beaten Rain or Shine, Magnolia and Alaska but lost to Phoenix, San Miguel and TNT.
The Hotshots have beaten the Tropang Giga and the Elasto Painters but lost to the Beermen, Alaska, the Bolts and the Fuel Masters.
Rain or Shine have beaten San Miguel, TNT and Phoenix but lost to the Aces, Meralco and Magnolia.
Finally, the Fuel Masters have beaten the Beermen, the Bolts, the Elasto Painters and the Hotshots but only lost to the Tropang Giga and Alaska.
As you can see, all seven teams have had a pretty good mix of results against their possible opponents. This shows how fun and competitive the season has been.
By the time the playoffs roll around, there are usually only two or three teams have a legit shot to win it all. And more often than not, two or sometimes even three of the last four teams in the playoffs are all San Miguel Corporation teams!
But this season, we all saw one of the most tightly contested playoff races we’ve seen in a while. We’ve also seen some great performances from both young and veteran teams.
Take a look at how Alaska, a team that is composed of young players and one star, turned out to be one of the deadliest teams in the tournament.
Or how about Rain or Shine, a team that handed their keys to two young stars and prided themselves on their stingy defense.
Phoenix, a team that was one of the worst teams in the league last conference turned out to be one of the scariest teams you could face in the playoffs. Meralco, a team that is usually in the bottom of the standings in the Philippine Cup, has a shot to have a deep run.
These are the teams that we didn’t expect to actually be competitive this season. I haven’t even mentioned the expected top dogs who are currently fighting to secure a top four seat like San Miguel, TNT and Magnolia.
The Philippine Cup has turned out to be what the PBA wanted over and over during the offseason, a conference that gave more teams a shot to win. Just like the NBA Bubble, it seems like a lot of players thrived on the absence of live fans, which allowed them to focus on their skills, the competition, and the game of basketball.
Tomorrow will be the culmination of the elimination round and the start of a very exciting and a must-see PBA Bubble playoffs.
I assure you, the whole “Sagip Kapamilya” issue will be out of window, when a chance to become the first PBA Bubble Champion is on the line.
Best part is, I have a strong feeling that no twice-to-beat advantage can save anyone.
Which teams will make the top 4? Sound off below in the comment section!