Mar 16, 2023

TNT-Ginebra: Elims closer settling all quarters matchups

THE rumble for PBA Governors' Cup playoff top seeding ends in this game.

TNT Tropang Giga and Barangay Ginebra clash in the final game of the single-round-robin elims -- a virtual playoff that will settle the wild and wooly race for top spots in the post-elims play in the season-ending tourney.

Together with San Miguel Beer and Meralco, the Tropang Giga and the Gin Kings are assured of the Top 4. Still to be determined is who will occupy the No. 1 position, the second spot and No. 3.

Coach Jojo Lastimosa and his chargers automatically take No. 1 if they win the 5:45 match at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

A win by coach Tim Cone and his troops, on the other hand, will create a logjam -- two-way or three-way that will include San Miguel Beer -- that is to be resolved by the quotient tiebreak system.

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With their 102-99 conquest of Ginebra and a 105-103 loss to TNT, the Beermen sport a strong plus 11 points quotient.

The Tropang Giga are plus two while the Kings are minus 13 but with a chance to shoot up with a big win.

Victories by San Miguel over NLEX and TNT over NorthPort Wednesday determined the Top 8, with Meralco taking No. 4, Magnolia No. 5, NLEX No. 6, Converge No. 7 and Phoenix Super LPG No. 8. But only one matchup has been set -- the twice-to-beat Bolts versus the Hotshots.

Everything is settled after this Friday twinbill.

"We're going to use the game as a tool to get ready for the playoffs which start Sunday for us," said Cone. "We'll play our starters to stay sharp but try not to use them too much so they can be fresh for Sunday.

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"Right now, all we have is 'playoffs' on our minds," he added.

Lastimosa said he would feel good either at No. 1 or No. 2.

But it doesn't mean they're just to go through the motion versus the Gin Kings.

"It's going to be a nice game to watch and play in, and I'm excited," said Lastimosa.

Somehow, it's also about stretching winning streak and keeping momentum going to the playoffs.

TNT is on a seven-game roll while Ginebra is on a five-game run going to their face-off. (SB)