By Jonas Terrado
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – NorthPort vs Meralco
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Phoenix
One minor let-up could jeopardize the chances of at least five teams of securing a top four finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals with the eliminations less than a month away from completion.
Defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel became the first team to qualify to the quarters with its 7-1 record while Blackwater (6-1), Magnolia (5-1), Alaska (5-1) and Phoenix (5-2) are not far behind at presstime.
They are looking to stay ahead of their rivals in order to clinch a quarterfinal bonus which would make their own title bids easier than fall into the predicament of having to win twice in order to make the semis of the season-ending conference.
This week serves as a crucial stretch for Blackwater, Magnolia, Alaska and Phoenix as they need to win in order to keep an inside track at the top four.
Phoenix was playing NLEX last night at the Cuneta Astrodome and scheduled to take on San Miguel Beer tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Blackwater faced Magnolia also yesterday at the Pasay City showplace while the latter is due to face Alaska on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra, on the other hand, battles a winless Rain or Shine dealing with the sudden absence of Raymond Almazan on Saturday in Lucena City, Quezon, a victory putting them closer toward sealing the twice-to-beat.
Blackwater and Phoenix have made heads turn this conference with the surprise runs since the start.
The Elite carry a 6-1 record as of the past week, on pace to register their best record in a conference after years of struggle.
The Fuel Masters, meanwhile, held a 5-2 record before their match last night with the team buoyed by the acquisition of Calvin Abueva in a trade with Alaska last month.