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Ahead of tough final elimination stretch, TNT's Racela aims for better QF seeding

PBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Many fans tagged TNT as among the favorites to at least give San Miguel a run for its money in the PBA Philippine Cup.

But eight games later, the KaTropa are in danger of even missing the quarterfinals.

TNT, following Sunday's results, is in a five-way tie for fifth to ninth places at 4-4, but with only the top eight teams going to the quarterfinals after the eliminations, only one of the five teams in the clogged middle part of the league table will surely miss the cut.

The KaTropa will finish the eliminations with two of the top three teams in the standings, the GlobalPort Batang Pier and the Beermen, putting them in a dangerous position.

But for Coach Nash Racela, their primary focus right now is winning.

"Our mindset is to get as many wins, because we don't really have control over our position after the eliminations. So sa amin lang, subukan nating ipanalo every game, then kung saan tayo malagay nyan, then we just have to prepare for the next battle. If it gets us a best-of-three [quarterfinal spot] or a disadvantage sa twice-to-beat, then we just have to take that. Then tignan natin kung anong mangyayari," Racela said.

While their next opponents are outside the Top 3, much more the crowded middle ranks, they are still no pushovers as the Mahindra Floodbusters begin their final playoff push inspired.

Winner of its last two games, Mahindra is suddenly in the thick of playoff things with a game at hand compared to TNT and the rest of the five-way logjam for fifth.

Both the Floodbusters and the KaTropa will clash in a pivotal match for both teams on Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome at 4:15 p.m.

The nightcap at 7 p.m. is also a crucial one as Phoenix, one of the other four clubs in the multi-team deadlock for fifth, looks to solidify its playoff bid against NLEX, whose quarterfinal hopes are hanging in the balance.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno