Dyip hoping Aces lose
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2019 - 12:00am

Two games are left in the PBA Governors Cup eliminations and the results of both contests will impact on the team standings entering the playoffs. The Ynares Center in Antipolo will be the venue for both encounters today with NLEX (8-2) taking on Alaska (4-6) in the 4:30 p.m. opener and TNT (7-3) facing San Miguel Beer (6-4) in the 7 p.m. nightcap.

NLEX, Meralco and Barangay Ginebra are assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, regardless of the results of the two remaining games. The Road Warriors are guaranteed to finish No. 1 even if they lose to Alaska. That’s because a loss to Alaska will drop NLEX’ record to 8-3, tying Meralco’s mark. Since NLEX beat Meralco in the elims, it will be NLEX on top. If TNT beats San Miguel Beer, it will improve to 8-3 and forge a three-way tie for first. Under the quotient system, NLEX will still emerge No. 1 with a +19 factor due to its 105-99 win over Meralco and 126-113 decision over TNT.

So NLEX can afford to lose to Alaska and it won’t make a difference in the Road Warriors’ standing. NLEX will be at pole position, no matter what. NLEX is coming off a 102-94 loss to NorthPort and for sure, coach Yeng Guiao isn’t relishing the thought of entering the playoffs with back-to-back defeats, meaning even if the Alaska game is no-bearing, the Road Warriors will be out for blood.

If Alaska beats NLEX, the Aces move up to 5-6, tying NorthPort for No. 7. Since Alaska beat the Batang Pier, 106-99, the Aces will finish No. 7 and NorthPort drops to No. 8. In the quarterfinals, that will put Alaska in a twice-to-win disadvantage against No. 2 and NorthPort in a similar predicament against NLEX.

If Alaska loses to NLEX, the Aces’ record slips to 4-7, creating a three-way tie for the eighth and last playoff slot. Columbian and Rain or Shine also tote 4-7 slates. In this situation, the team with the lowest quotient is struck out of contention. That would be the Elasto Painters who are -1. Columbian is +1 and Alaska 0. A playoff between Columbian and Alaska will settle which team advances to the quarterfinals at No. 8.  The Dyip hope Alaska loses to NLEX for a chance to sneak into the playoffs.

If TNT beats San Miguel, the KaTropa improves to 8-3 and the Beermen fall to 6-5. That will confirm the top four teams with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals – NLEX, Meralco, TNT and Ginebra. If NLEX and TNT win, the Road Warriors clinch No. 1 at 9-2 and the KaTropa take No. 2 because it beat Meralco in the prelims. San Miguel will drop to No. 5 owing to the winner-over-the-other rule as Magnolia settles for No. 6.

If San Miguel beats TNT even by a single point, the Beermen barge into the magic circle of four with a twice-to-beat advantage, leaving TNT at No. 5. The +/- factors in a three-way tie for third are Ginebra at +8, TNT at -3 and San Miguel at -5. If San Miguel beats TNT by 1, its factor will improve to -4 and KaTropa will slip to -4. San Miguel will then claim No. 4 because of the winner-over-the-other rule. Ginebra will be at No. 3.

What’s certain at this point is Rain or Shine, Phoenix and Blackwater are out of the playoffs. The Elasto Painters ended the elims with back-to-back wins over San Miguel and Meralco but the seven-point loss to Alaska pulled down their factor in a possible three-way tie with the Aces and Columbian.

Alaska is on a three-game win streak. A win over NLEX will put the Aces up to No. 7 while a loss will mean a playoff against Columbian for No. 8. Alaska’s Franco House isn’t a household name as an import and coach Jeff Cariaso’s hopes hinge on locals delivering the goods. NLEX import Manny Harris is an NBA veteran who’s explosive and tireless. With Harris in harness, NLEX has lost only once, its last game to NorthPort. The matchup between Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng will rekindle their UAAP rivalry. Teng, however, was hurt in the fourth quarter of Alaska’s 105-102 win over Phoenix last Wednesday and it’s not certain if he’ll play against NLEX.

San Miguel’s Grand Slam dream is seriously threatened with rumors of internal dissension. The Beermen are fresh from a 91-85 loss to Rain or Shine and they’ve dropped three of their last four. Coach Leo Austria brought in John Holland to replace injured Dez Wells on an interim basis and the NBA veteran could produce only 10 points in the setback to the Elasto Painters. Wells should be back in harness against TNT and his duel with K. J. McDaniels brings back memories of a Wild West gunfight. TNT is also in a slump, losing its last three after a 7-0 start. Losing Jayson Castro was a huge blow. Now more than ever, coach Mark Dickel needs a stabilizer in the backcourt to set things in order with Ray-Ray Parks, McDaniels, R. R. Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Mike DiGregorio all demanding their share of touches.

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