Four teams fight for positioning and survival as playoff basketball virtually starts Friday in the final elimination round doubleheader of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco battles Phoenix Super LPG in the 3 p.m. curtain raiser before TNT and NorthPort square off at 6 p.m. in a showdown between two of the league’s hottest teams.
Both Meralco and TNT need to beat their respective foes in order to clinch the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals but defeat, depending on the margin, may jeopardize their chances of a better route towards the playoffs.
NorthPort and Phoenix, meanwhile, must either assure themselves of a quarterfinals berth or a playoff for the No. 8 seed.
Sharing fourth to fifth spots are Meralco and TNT at 6-4 while NorthPort and Phoenix hold identical 5-5 slates for eighth and ninth positions.
Expected to be an ardent observer is San Miguel Beer, which will rely on the result of both games to see if it can secure the quarterfinal incentive.
SMB finished the eliminations at 7-4, and a three-way tie with TNT and Meralco will put the Beermen out of the top four and needing to win twice over the Bolts in the quarters.
Phoenix and NorthPort are eager to foil their opponents’ twice-to-beat hopes which would result in a four-way tie for fourth at 6-5 with TNT, Meralco, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Alaska.
TNT has a huge advantage in the tiebreaker under the scenario, and will need to avoid losing by a very wide margin to seal the No. 4 seed and the twice-to-beat even with a loss.
The Tropang Giga and the Batang Pier are out to display the form that allowed them to go on a winning streak at the latter stage of the eliminations.
NorthPort overcame a 0-5 start by winning five straight thanks to import Jamel Artis, veteran Arwind Santos, rookie Jamie Malonzo, plus the timely return of Robert Bolick from Gilas Pilipinas duties.
TNT, on the other hand, bucked a 2-4 start by winning four in a row with rookie Mikey Williams going on a tear while the likes of Jayson Castro and Kib Montalbo have produced solid productions during the streak.
Meralco, meanwhile, tries to end a three-game skid and regain some confidence after blowing a 26-point lead in a 115-110 loss to SMB.