By JONAS TERRADO
Crucial spots in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals remain unsettled as the league began yesterday an 11-day break for the third window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
When action resumes on July 4 for the final three playdates, six teams will jockey it out for the four remaining quarterfinal berths while three others who gained safe passage to the last eight fight for the second-and-final twice-to-beat advantage.
The only thing assured that this point is the top seed and first twice-to-beat bonus which both secured by Rain or Shine following Sunday’s 106-99 overtime win over Meralco.
The Elasto Painters, however, are also playing the waiting game as to which team they’ll face in the quarters as the No. 8 seed.
Rain or Shine, with a 9-2 record, will play a non-bearing match against TNT KaTropa on July 7.
For the KaTropa, however, anything but a loss ends their quest for a twice-to-beat.
TNT is tied with Alaska for second at 7-3 while Meralco still has a chance at the bonus despite two straight losses to end the elims at 7-4.
There’s an impression that defending champion San Miguel (5-4) may sneak a twice-to-beat berth if it wins the final two games against Blackwater on July 4 and Magnolia on July 7. But the Beermen seem to have an inferior quotient should there be a four-way tie at 7-4 with TNT, Alaska and Meralco.
It is one of 64 scenarios left in the twice-to-beat and quarterfinal races.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, which won four in a row, is tied for sixth with GlobalPort at 5-5 while Magnolia, parading new import Wayne Chism by the time it faces NLEX on July 4, is at eighth positon with a 4-5 slate.
At the outside are ninth-running Phoenix with a 4-6 record and the Columbian Dyip, who ended the elims at 4-7.
Columbian’s destiny is no longer within its hands as a victory by Magnolia will practically end its quarterfinals bid for the first time since the 2016 Governors’ Cup.
But for now, focus will be on Gilas Pilipinas which seeks to end its first round campaign in the World Cup qualifiers on a high note with matches against Taiwan on Friday in Taipei and Australia on Monday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.