PBA: 3 teams fight for playoff slots

Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs NLEX
7 p.m. – Globalport vs San Miguel Beer

San Miguel Beer, Globalport and Barako Bull see action today with their playoff lives at stake in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Barako Bull must beat playoff-bound NLEX in the first game at 4:15 p.m. while San Miguel and Globalport play a virtual do-or-die encounter set at 7 p.m. with the loser likely ending its season.

Globalport and Barako Bull share seventh to ninth spots with Alaska at 4-6 while San Miguel is near the bottom of the 12-team league at 3-7.

Only five teams have clinched playoff spots in Rain or Shine, Talk ‘N Text and defending champion Purefoods Star, all with 8-3 records, and Meralco and NLEX, at 6-4, have clinched playoff berths.

Barangay Ginebra is in sixth place at 5-5, needing to defeat Alaska tomorrow at the same venue.

Winning alone won’t be enough for San Miguel Beer.

The Beermen, who have struggled throughout the conference following their title conquest in the Philippine Cup, must win by 26 points if Barako Bull beats NLEX, or not less than 14 points if the Energy bowed to the Road Warriors.

But if Globalport and Barako Bull prevail, they will still have to wait for the outcome of Ginebra-Alaska contest.

A Kings loss will create a four-way logjam at 5-6, with the quotient system to be applied in order to determine the three remaining playoff spots.

“Any scenario that we have right now is a good opportunity for us,” said SMB mentor Leo Austria. “Win or lose, we have to give it our best, we have to finish it strong. Of course, we’ll be aiming for the win.”

“The players, despite losing our previous game, they know the urgency of this encounter with Globalport. It’s still in our hands, so come what may, we’ll try to win the game and take advantage of the situation that will be presented to us,” added Austria.

SMB will rely anew on import AZ Reid, while backing him up are 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo, former MVP Arwind Santos, veteran guard Alex Cabagnot, Fil-Ams Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz and Chris Ross, and Ronald Tubid.

As for Globalport, the team of interim coach Eric Gonzales will lean on import Derrick Caracter, Terrence Romeo, Ronjay Buenafe, Anthony Semerad and possibly rookie Stanley Pringle, who has missed two games with a sprained right ankle.

As for NLEX, it is assured of facing Meralco in a best-of-three series regardless of its fate against Barako.


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Written by Johnny Lugay

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