Mad scramble for quarterfinal slots

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Embattled champion Ginebra and the rest of the teams chasing quarterfinal slots are bracing for an all-out war as they make the final push for the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs this week.

NorthPort, NLEX, Alaska and Ginebra are hot on the trails of the three remaining slots to the Last-8 with Phoenix and Terrafirma still in play despite finishing the elims with identical 4-7 cards last week.

Crucial matches pitting San Miguel against Alaska, Ginebra versus Meralco, NLEX against Meralco and NorthPort versus Alaska are on tap for the remainder of the elims.

With 5-5 slates, the sixth and seventh-running Batang Pier and the Road Warriors can gain outright entry by taking care of business against Alaska and Meralco, respectively.

At 4-6, the Gin Kings face a virtual make-or-break in their showdown with the Bolts. A win may send Ginebra through or at least into a rubber match for No. 8 but a loss may prove fatal considering the team’s inferior tiebreak status in case of a deadlock at 4-7 with Phoenix, Terrafirma and Alaska.

The Aces (3-6) need a two-game sweep to spur their advance.

Second-running Meralco (7-2) is guaranteed of its quarterfinals place regardless of the outcome of their last two matches. But the Bolts have to win at least one to beat Magnolia (8-3) for the coveted No. 2 seeding and twice-to-beat advantage.

TNT Tropang Giga clinched the No. 1 spot in the next round with a 10-1 record. The PBA is set to finalize and release the schedule of games today.

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