(DHVSU gym, Bacolor)
4:35 p.m. — Ginebra vs. Phoenix
TAKE your pick: Barangay Ginebra or Phoenix Super LPG.
The Gin Kings and the Fuel Masters clash in a sudden death encounter for the eighth and final quarterfinal seat in the 2021 PBA Philippien Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Saturday.
Game time is 4:35 p.m. with the winner earning the unenviable task of playing against No. 1 seed and twice-to-beat Talk N Text in the quarterfinals.
The Tropang Giga clinched top seed with a 10-1 win-loss record, while the Gin Kings and the Fuel Masters finished in a three-way tie with Terrafirma with 4-7 slates but earned the right to the playoff by virtue of higher tiebreak scores than the Dyip.
Based on the PBA rule of breaking the ties, Phoenix finished first, followed by Ginebra.
That left Terrafirma,which finished with the lowest-ranked quotient, out of the playoff picture.
Although Ginebra dropped its final assignment to No. 2 Meralco, 66-79, at the close of the elimination round last Thursday, the Gin Kings got a new lease on life thanks to NorthPort’s lopsided 122-94 victory over Alaska Milk.
A loss by NorthPort to Alaska would have given Terrafirma the right to play Phoenix in the one-game playoff.
“We’ve been given an unexpected reprieve so we want to do our best and take advantage of it,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone in an interview posted on the official PBA website.
“The guys know the road is tough and has been tough but it starts with one step. That step starts tomorrow with our game against Phoenix,” added Cone, whose team in hoping to avoid becoming the first All-Filipino champion to miss the playoffs in its title-defense since Shell in 2000.
Cone is also hoping Ginebra can repeat its 94-87 victory over Phoenix last Sept. 15. The never-say-die Gin Kings fell behind by as many as 19 points before coming back strong to beat the Fuel Masters.
The Gin Kings will have to do it again minus two key mainstays in Japeth Aguilar, who is nursing an injury, and Scottie Thompson, who is observing the league’s health and safety protocols.
Phoenix coach Topex Robinson also reminded his players about Ginebra’s come-from-behind victory and hopes to draw valuable lessons from the setback.
“The No. 8 spot won’t be given to us. We have to earn it against Ginebra,” said Robinson, whose team was almost counted out after falling to San Miguel, 80-110, last Sept. 17.