MANILA, Philippines – Finishing as the top seed and nailing a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals seemed like possible realities for Barangay Ginebra just a couple of days ago.
But the Gin Kings bowed out of contention for the No. 1 spot and saw their chances for the playoff incentive dented after a stunning 120-117 overtime loss to NLEX on Friday, November 25.
No thanks to the defeat that snapped its five-game winning streak, Ginebra no longer controls its fate for the win-once ticket awarded to the top two teams.
Slipping to fourth place with a 7-3 record, the Gin Kings have to win their last two games against NorthPort and Converge and need second seed Magnolia (8-2) to lose at least one of its last two matches in the eliminations.
It was a complete reversal of fortune between the longtime rivals, with Ginebra initially having the inside track for the twice-to-beat advantage after beating the Hotshots earlier in the tournament.
Had the Gin Kings compiled a 10-2 record and forged a three-way tie with Bay Area and Magnolia at the top, they would have clinched the No. 1 seed by virtue of their wins over the two other squads.
The Dragons would then land at second due to a superior quotient and the Hotshots would settle for the third seed.
But Magnolia now holds the upper hand, while Bay Area officially secured its place as the No. 1 team going into the playoffs.
As Ginebra guns for a top-two finish, it also faces the threat of dropping to as low as sixth place considering the caliber of its last two opponents.
The No. 5 Batang Pier (6-5) have won their last three games, while the No. 3 FiberXers (8-3) once rode on a seven-game winning streak before losing in a game where they played without an import.
Whether the Gin Kings can bounce back from that upset loss to the Road Warriors will be known once they face NorthPort on Sunday, November 27; and Converge on Wednesday, November 30. – Rappler.com