By Jonas Terrado
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Columbian
7 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs Meralco
The trades that Barangay Ginebra San Miguel triggered at the start of the week has made the race for the four remaining quarterfinal berths in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup more intriguing with the elimination round winding down to its final 17 days, including a long layoff next week.
Ginebra was busy after winning its last two games by acquiring Jeff Chan and rookie Julian Sargent from Phoenix and GlobalPort, respectively, thus raising its chances of completing a recovery from a sour start in the midseason tournament.
Coach Tim Cone’s boys entered Wednesday with a 3-5 record, facing at presstime the Columbian Dyip who tote a 4-5 mark. A victory will put Ginebra in a tie for seventh with Magnolia, the same team it beat last Sunday.
It will also boost Ginebra’s chances of avoiding the predicament of having to play a best-of-three series in the quarters. Tournament rules state that the top two teams carry a twice-to-beat advantage against the No.7 and No. 8 teams while the third to sixth seeds play a crossover best-of-three.
Defending champion San Miguel and GlobalPort are tied for fifth at 4-4, the latter getting a chance to close in on the quarters with a win over struggling Phoenix at presstime.
San Miguel remains a formidable foe, as seen in Saturday’s victory over TNT KaTropa. The Beermen remain a team to beat despite an unusual 0-2 start and their current place in the standings.
Magnolia has struggled regaining its early form with original import Vernon Macklin, having lost four of five after a 3-1 start and Phoenix dropped four in a row after going 3-2 to fall into 10th place.
Columbian has kept itself in the quarters race despite absorbing losses by an average margin of 21.8 points. Another defeat may spell disaster for the unheralded boys of Dyip coach Ricky Dandan.
More crucial matches await after last night’s doubleheader, with GlobalPort and Columbian squaring off tomorrow.