For the first time in two seasons, TNT KaTropa finished with the best record following the conclusion of the elimination round as the Texters went 10-1 in the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup.
For TNT coach Jong Uichico, however, these are just numbers.
“It’s just placing whether you’re 1, 2, or 3,” said Uichico after his team’s 104-92 victory against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel that also gave the Texters the No. 1 spot in the quarterfinal playoffs.
“Basta nasa Top 4 ka, and then just hope for the best and try to maintain your momentum,” said Uichico.
The last time TNT had the league’s best record after the elimination round was during the 2014 Governors’ Cup when it finished with a 7-2 win-loss record, thus earning the top spot in the playoffs.
Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Texters eliminated the now-defunct Barako Bull Energy, but lost to eventual Grand Slam champion San Mig Coffee in the semifinals.
The playoff game tomorrow between Rain or Shine and Phoenix that will determine the No. 8 berth will likewise decide the quarterfinal opponent of the Texters.
If the Elasto Painters win, it’s going to be TNT versus RoS, but a victory by newcomer Fuel Masters would take the No. 7 spot and the NLEX Road Warriors No. 8 with the winner-over-the-other rule.
“We have to wait,” said Uichico, adding that he will watch the playoff game. “Sometimes it’s hard because you don’t know who you’re going to play. For now, we just have to make do (with what we have).”
The setback dropped Ginebra in a tie for second and third places with defending champion San Miguel Beer with similar 8-3 cards. But since the Beermen defeated the Kings (111-105), SMB gets the No. 2 spot in the playoffs, while Ginebra slides to No. 3 and will face No. 6 Alaska.
Meralco and Mahindra will dispute the No. 4 spot and the last twice-to-beat advantage also on Wednesday, a virtual three-game affair since the losing team will fall to fifth seed.