By JONAS TERRADO
The resumption of the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations on Tuesday will see not only a maximum of four games per playdate but also some teams seeing action in back-to-back days.
With the league determined to finish the elims on its target date of Nov. 11 following the implementations of new protocols by the Inter-Agency Task Force and Department of Health, nine of the 12 PBA teams will be in for a test of endurance as they vie for eight spots in the quarterfinals.
Blackwater (2-3), which before the brief stoppage had two games postponed in relation to a player getting a false positive case, will begin the restart with back-to-back games against San Miguel Beer on Tuesday and Meralco on Wednesday.
The Elite will then play on Friday opposite Terrafirma and another back-to-back with Rain or Shine (Nov. 8) and Phoenix Super LPG (Nov. 9) before wrapping up the elims by taking on Magnolia (Nov. 11).
Rain or Shine (4-1) is going to play three back-to-back games during the resumption in NLEX (Nov. 4) and Meralco (Nov. 5), Magnolia (Nov. 7) and NorthPort (Nov. 8) and TNT (Nov. 10) and Phoenix (Nov. 11) while winless Terrafirma is also slated for six games ‒ Phoenix (Nov. 3), Magnolia (Nov. 5), Meralco (Nov. 8), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (Nov. 9) and NLEX (Nov. 11).
The other team with six matches left in NorthPort (1-4) which battles TNT (Nov. 3), Ginebra (Nov. 4), Alaska (Nov. 6), Magnolia (Nov. 8), SMB (Nov. 10) and Meralco (Nov. 11).
Five ballclubs have five games left in the elims, namely leader TNT (5-1), San Miguel (4-2), Ginebra (4-2), Meralco (3-3) and Magnolia (2-4).
TNT’s schedule has NorthPort (Nov. 3), Magnolia (Nov. 4), Ginebra (Nov. 6), Meralco (Nov. 7) and Rain or Shine (Nov. 10) and San Miguel will meet Blackwater (Nov. 3), Phoenix (Nov. 5), NLEX (Nov. 6), Ginebra (Nov. 8) and NorthPort (Nov. 10).
Ginebra plays Alaska (Nov. 3), NorthPort (Nov. 4), TNT (Nov. 6), SMB (Nov. 8) and Terrafirma (Nov. 9) while Magnolia takes on TNT (Nov. 4), Terrafirma (Nov. 5), Rain or Shine (Nov. 7), NorthPort (Nov. 8) and Blackwater (Nov. 11).
Meanwhile, three teams will have a calendar as if they were not affected by the changes.
Only four games are on tap for 2-5 NLEX (Rain or Shine on Nov. 4, SMB on Nov. 6, Alaska on Nov. 9 and Terrafirma on Nov. 11) and 4-3 Phoenix (Terrafirma on Nov. 3, SMB Nov. 5, Blackwater on Nov. 9 and Rain or Shine on Nov. 11).
The lightest schedule is Alaska (5-3) since it only has three games left in the elims, namely Ginebra (Nov. 3), NorthPort (Nov. 6) and NLEX (Nov. 9).
Conditioning, fatigue and momentum could play a factor in how teams deal with the possibility of either extending their time in the bubble or going back to their homes after Nov. 11.