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Crucial games ahead for Alaska, Magnolia, SMB as race for QF bonus intensifies

Magnolia and Alaska are chasing the top two spots.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--With a loss on Friday night versus Blackwater, San Miguel has found itself in a three-way tie with Magnolia and Alaska for the top spot in the PBA Philippine Cup standings.

That makes the upcoming games for the three teams at the podium very important.

The Hotshots will have two matches during a fiscal week that begins later Saturday when they take on the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters in Calasiao. The Hotshots will then play on Friday night in Quezon City against the GlobalPort Batang Pier.

The Aces, on the other hand, battle the NLEX Road Warriors on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Beermen will only have one game next week, but that turns out to be a colossal one as they face the Aces in Batangas City next Saturday.

That's where things will get interesting.

Assuming they stay tied for the top three spots at the end of the elimination round, the quotients will break their tie, and it will decide which teams will end up at the top two spots, where twice-to-beat advantages will be handed out.

Alaska, while having an extra match before the SMB game next week, needs to win as convincingly as possible against SMB to be in a good position for a Top 2 finish considering that it lost to Magnolia on Dec. 20.

Magnolia may be the key spectator of the Alaska-SMB game next week, but first things first, the club needs to beat ROS and GlobalPort to get a good advantage.

Here are the head-to-head quotients of top three teams as of now:

Magnolia (won vs. Alaska, 108-95, lost to SMB, 76-77): 1.0698
San Miguel (won vs. Magnolia, 77-76, to face Alaska on Feb. 17): 1.0132
Alaska (lost vs. Magnolia, 95-108, to face SMB on Feb. 17): 0.8796