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PBA: Mad race for ‘bonus’

Kelly Williams (PBA Images)

Kelly Williams (PBA Images)

Ginebra is all assured, but 4 teams still fighting for 2nd incentive.

The quarterfinal cast in the PBA Governors’ Cup may have been completed but the race for the twice-to-beat advantage remains wide open with four playdates left in the elimination round.

Solo leader Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is all but assured of the quarterfinal bonus with its 8-2 record while Meralco, TNT KaTropa, NLEX and Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel are locked in a tight battle for top four spots.

Meralco is in second at 7-2, TNT tied NLEX for third at 7-3 after import Glen Rice Jr. erupted for 43 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists in Sunday’s 104-99 victory over Star at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City while San Miguel is in fifth at 6-3.

Rain or Shine and Star still have outside chances at the top four despite sharing sixth and seventh places at 5-4 going into the final week of the eliminations that features plenty of crucial matches.

Ginebra and TNT face off Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with the former needing a win to secure the twice-to-beat incentive.

Meralco faces GlobalPort Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena and San Miguel on Sunday at the Big Dome. The latter encounter comes after the Beermen’s duel with the also-ran Phoenix Fuel Masters tomorrow in Antipolo City.

Star plays Kia Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena, and battles NLEX two days later at the Big Dome even as Rain or Shine has Alaska and Blackwater on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively.

Blackwater, with a 5-5 record, is no longer in contention for the twice-to-beat although it is keen on beating Rain or Shine to gain a much-better seeding in the playoffs.

The top four teams after the eliminations secure the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, a different format from the season’s first two conferences.

In the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cups, the top two teams gain the said bonus against and seventh and eighth-seeded team, while the third to sixth-ranked squads meet in a crossover best-of-three series.