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PBA: 3 teams fight for last playoff berth

N'Diaye Hamady of KIA is double-teamed by Calvin Abueva and Eman Samigue of Alaska in this bit of action in the first quarter of their PBA match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, June 5, 2015. PHOTO BY ERNIE U. SARMIENTOGames Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Meralco
7 p.m. – NLEX vs Ginebra

Survival will be the theme of today’s final elimination round playdate as three teams will determine whether they will claim the last playoff berth in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Kia face separate rivals while Commissioner’s Cup champion Talk ‘N Text will be an interesting spectator when the league caps off its month-long elims schedule.

Kia will attempt to secure its first-ever playoff appearance when it battles Meralco in the first game at 4:15 p.m. before Ginebra tries not to disappoint its legion of fans at 7 p.m. against NLEX.

Seven teams have already secure spots for the playoffs in Alaska (8-2), San Miguel (8-3), Rain or Shine (7-4), Globalport (6-4), Barako Bull (6-5), defending champion Star (5-5) and Meralco (5-5).

TNT ended the elims at 5-6 while Kia and Ginebra are tied for ninth to tenth spots at 4-6.

Of the three teams still in the running, Kia faces the toughest obstacle.

Kia must defeat Meralco by at least 19 points to enter the playoffs, a first for the expansion team after lackluster campaigns in the first two conferences.

“Mahirap… pero pagsisikapan namin na manalo. Malaking lamang ang kailangan, pero bilog ang bola, hindi mo masabi ang basketball. Let’s see,” said Kia assistant coach Chito Victolero, who is calling the shots for the team in the absence of playing coach Manny Pacquiao.

Failure to do so will allow Ginebra the opportunity to survive.

The Kings, who continue to struggle even after the appointment of Frankie Lim as coach, can make the playoffs if the Carnival fail to meet the needed margin coupled with a victory over the Road Warriors.

“We’ll get our chance if Kia wins. If they do, we have to stop the inside game of NLEX… with Asi (Taulava) and the import (Kwame Alexander). We also have to make sure to control the game,” said Lim. “It’s a win or go home thing for us.”

But a Meralco win will automatically send its sister team Talk ‘N Text to the playoffs without breaking a sweat.

TNT showed little resemblance of a team that won the Commissioner’s Cup crown in late April and even endured a four-game skid before winning two of its last three outings.

That is why the Texters are going to play the role of cheerleaders for the Bolts, whose only objective against the Carnival is to secure a better position heading into the playoffs.

Meralco is out to rebound from its 96-89 loss to Rain or Shine last Sunday and enter the playoffs with a fresh outlook.

NLEX, another sister team of TNT, is already out of contention with a 3-7 record and is out to end its maiden season in the pros on a winning note.