|Coach Tim Cone needs to steer Ginebra to a huge win against Meralco or else, they might be eliminated. PBA Images (file photo)|
THERE are 16 different scenarios that could take place as the PBA Philippine Cup is entering the final week of its elimination round.
But for Ginebra and Alaska, they only have two possible fates: whether they get another shot at making the quarterfinals or get ousted at all.
First, let's take a look at the Gin Kings.
Following everything that transpired so far in the tournament until Sunday night, they are in danger of becoming the first team in 21 years that would not make the quarterfinals in the current conference after winning it all the previous year
With that said, they have an imperative this week: beat the Meralco Bolts.
The most feasible way for Ginebra to stay alive in contention is to beat Meralco or else, the Philippine Cup title might be declared vacant entering the quarterfinals.
Here is why: if the Gin Kings (4-6) lose to the Bolts (7-2) and the Aces (3-6) get to sweep their last two assignments against the San Miguel Beermen (6-4) and the NorthPort Batang Pier (5-5), the former will be eliminated outright as the "Elite 8" would have at least five wins.
There is actually a way for Ginebra to get a quarterfinal shot through the backdoor even if it ends up at 4-7, but it now needs some help from both SMB and NorthPort.
This is also where Phoenix and Terrafirma are stepping in.
Both the Fuel Masters and the Dyip, who finished their elimination round stint at 4-7, are still hoping for a miraculous ouster of the Aces and the Gin Kings for them to have a chance to clinch the last quarterfinal seat.
For Terrafirma, however, it might prefer less damage on Alaska than a huge one.
Due to the Dyip's 105-89 rout of the Aces on Sunday night, the former must now hope that a four-way tie at 4-7 would take place.
In case of more than two teams tied for eighth place, the quotients will determine the two teams that will collide in the play-in match.
If both Alaska and Ginebra lose at least one game this week, Phoenix, which has the best quotients in both of the possible three-way (plus-5) and four-way (plus-13) logjams for eighth, will get to play in the wildcard game.
On who the Fuel Masters, however, will depend on how sluggish the Aces would be this week.
Ginebra's last hope for a quarterfinal seat is if Alaska loses both its last two games that would pull the team down to 3-8, only leaving the former, Phoenix, and Terrafirma tied at 4-7.
The Gin Kings, who have the second best quotient in the three-way tie at plus-2, will earn the other seat in the play-in game, thereby eliminating the Dyip.
However, if Alaska manages to win exactly just one game this week, the four-way tie at 4-7 would take place.
Because Terrafirma managed to shock Alaska and Ginebra (95-90), Terrafirma, which has the second best quotient in the four-way tie with plus-9, will face Phoenix for the eighth seed.
With that said, it's better for the Gin Kings to just beat the Bolts and stay out of the 4-7 complication.
But even at 5-6, Ginebra might still have to play in the wildcard.
More on that when I tackle the situation of NLEX and NorthPort's bid for a Top 6 finish (PS: Alaska actually has a shot too at number six, but just merely sweeping the week is not enough).
Spoiler alert: the Gin Kings will not have a chance at the Top 6 and will have a once-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals should they advance.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno