|Phoenix and NorthPort could benefit from a possible six-way logjam for the last five quarterfinal spots, but they need to score blowouts. PBA Images (file photo)|
TRADITIONALLY, six wins are enough for a PBA team to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals.
But in this scenario that could ensue at the end of the PBA Governors' Cup eliminations, two teams might still need to slug it out one more time for the last quarterfinal berth even if they finish at 6-5.
The potentially wildest scenario that arises ahead of this week's matches is a chance that six teams, TNT, Ginebra, Meralco, Phoenix, NorthPort, and Alaska, will finish the elimination round in joint fourth place at 6-5.
This could happen if and only if the Tropang Giga defeat the Terrafirma Dyip on Wednesday but lose to the Batang Pier on Friday and the Fuel Masters beat the Bolts also on Friday.
(A Meralco win will assure the team the fourth seed. More on that here.)
Based on PBA rules, the ties for the places above the eighth seed will be determined through the quotient system.
So the fourth to seventh seeds must first be determined, and the two teams with the worst quotients will have to fight again for the eighth seed.
The only sure things in this scenario are that the Aces, who were still in the thick of the fight for the quarterfinal bonus before dropping their last two games, will be relegated to the play-in match and that the Gin Kings and the Bolts will miss out on the twice-to-beat edge.
But all eyes will be on both Phoenix and NorthPort as they can still dictate their playoff fate.
Currently, TNT, which is still in the running for a twice-to-beat advantage, has the best quotient among the six clubs with a plus-27.
While beating both the Dyip and the Batang Pier is the best way for them to seal the quarterfinal bonus, the Tropang Giga should be fine even if they fall to the Batang Pier as long as the game is close.
But if in case NorthPort, which is on a five-game winning streak, beats TNT by 18 or more, the former gets the fourth seed with the twice-to-beat edge.
For Phoenix to steal the fourth seed, the team must at least equal NorthPort's lead over TNT in the end since NorthPort owns the tiebreaker due to its 101-93 win on Feb. 26.
But with the importance of both games, the chances of both the Fuel Masters and Batang Pier winning by big margins are small.
TNT not out of the woods yet
While TNT has the best chance to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, there is actually a possibility that the team could be eliminated outright.
The PLDT franchise, which is seeking the Season 46 grand slam, could be knocked out of contention if it loses both of its last games against Terrafirma and NorthPort and Phoenix beats Meralco.
The Fuel Masters could still steal the fourth seed in this scenario, but they need to beat the Bolts by 35 points or more.
The most feasible case in this scenario is a quarterfinal pairing between Ginebra and Alaska.
If this turns out to be the Aces' last game or pair of games in the PBA, putting up a gallant stand against their fabled former coach could be the best way to go.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno