Mar 23, 2019

Must win game for KaTropa, Batang Pier

FOLLOWING a rare six-game slide, NorthPort's hopes of getting past the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations certainly look bleak.

But the Batang Pier remain far from throwing the towel, not with their fate still in their hands.

A reinvigorated determination should help spur NorthPort when it battles TNT Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in a match that would have repercussions not only for them but also for others still in the hunt for quarterfinals seats.

The KaTropa are looking to end their elims campaign with a sixth straight win and an 8-3 record overall that would tie it with Rain or Shine at the No. 2 spot.

That tie would be broken by the quotient, or simply the winner-over-the-other rule, which would have TNT taking the spot and the last win-once advantage in the quarters by virtue of its 100-92 win over Rain or Shine last March 3.

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TNT, however, could not rest easy just yet.

Barangay Ginebra could also end up with the same 8-3 slate if it sweeps its last three games, starting with NLEX Saturday.

Should the three get all bundled up at the same spot, the Gin Kings would take No. 2 due to its higher quotient boosted by their 90-79 win over the KaTropa on opening day. The latter would drop to No. 3 and the Elasto Painters to No. 4.

TNT coach Bong Ravena insists his team's focus is on the thing it could control, like the NorthPort game.

"We have to win our last game and then the rest... we'll see, dahil hindi namin control 'yung mangyayari," said Ravena.

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"Basta ang Importante manalo kami," added Ravena. "Whatever happens, basta concern namin last game."

NorthPort simply wants to stay alive after its losing skein capped by a 90-103 defeat at the hands of Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok last Wednesday.

The freefall is eerily similar to how NorthPort started last season's Governors Cup, where it eventually landed second-to-last with a 2-9 record.

The main difference from then and now is, the Batang Pier already have two wins under their belt and still have three games left. Should they wind up the elims by winning all three, they could still make it.

"We still have a good chance," said NorthPort's Sean Anthony.
"There's still three games left so we still got a shot at this," added the do-it-all forward. "We just need to figure this out."

So far, four teams with at least six wins have already qualified to the eight-team quarterfinals.

But, according to league chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, should NorthPort lose one of its remaining games, the magic number needed by the remaining aspirants automatically drops to five. (NC)