PHOENIX Super LPG and Barangay Ginebra, among those teams bunched closely together behind the frontrunners, clash in a key game in a Wednesday doubleheader kicking Week 3 of the PBA Bacolor play.
It's a virtual playoff match between these teams separated by half game entering the homestretch of the one-round-robin elims phase of the all-Filipino tourney.
Thanks to back-to-back wins over the Terrafirma Dyip and the Blackwater Bossing, the Fuel Masters are joint seventh with the skidding NLEX Road Warriors at 4-5, barely up on the Gin Kings at 3-5.
Both must sweep their remaining games to gain outright entry into the quarterfinals.
"We still have a lot of things to work on as a team. Good thing about us is we have control of our destiny. So, we just have to grind it out in our last two games," said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson.
The Fuel Masters gained a big relief after their 96-84 stoppage of the Dyip followed by a 114-92 rout of the Bossing. But they face big tests in their last two outings against heavyweights Ginebra and San Miguel.
First up for Phoenix is the Ginebra team raring to snap out of a two-game skid.
The Kings first suffered a 102-111 defeat at the hands of the San Miguel Beermen on Sept. 10 then got a severe 67-88 beating from the TNT Tropang Giga Sunday.
Coach Tim Cone and his chargers face a virtual must-win situation now considering they're out of the Top Eight.
They play Phoenix and Alaska Milk this week before closing out their elims stint against the Meralco Bolts next week.
The Fuel Masters, meanwhile, have gone on a roll largely behind the efforts of veterans Jason Perkins, Justine Chua, Matthew Wright and RJ Jazul.
"I'm starting to see our team developing an identity, offensively and defensively. So I think we're moving on the right track and that's all I could really hope for," said Wright.
They're in high spirits going to their game against the Gin Kings. (SB)