by Jonas Terrado
Seven teams are in contention for the four remaining quarterfinal slots in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup more than a week before the elimination round comes to a close.
Magnolia, Rain or Shine, Phoenix Pulse, Alaska, San Miguel Beer and Meralco are in a tight race for those spots while Columbian has an outside chance of sneaking in with five playdates to go.
After losing back-to-back games including Sunday’s 102-81 setback to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Magnolia dropped to fifth with a 5-4 record heading into meetings with Rain or Shine on Wednesday and TNT KaTropa on July 17.
Rain or Shine and Phoenix Pulse share sixth and seventh with similar 4-5 slates. ROS plays Magnolia on Wednesday and San Miguel on Saturday while Phoenix has SMB on Wednesday and NLEX on Friday.
Alaska, which dropped to 4-6 after four straight defeats, won’t be seeing action until Sunday against Blackwater while SMB, with a 3-5 record, is out to beat Phoenix, Rain or Shine and Meralco on July 17 to reach the quarters.
Meralco has NorthPort on Friday before tackling San Miguel next week while Columbian must beat Ginebra on Sunday or miss the playoffs for the eighth straight conference.
The Dyip have a 3-7 card after winning two of their previous three outings, including upsets over the Beermen and Fuel Masters.
League-leading TNT KaTropa (9-1) and NorthPort (8-2) have secured the two twice-to-beat incentives while 6-4 teams Blackwater and Ginebra clinched quarterfinal berths over the weekend.
Aside from the battle for the quarterfinal berths, teams are also seeking to put themselves in the top six to assure a better chance of making the semis.