SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — Meralco head coach Norman Black feels relieved to have scored their sixth win in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup after averting a collapse versus Terrafirma Dyip Sunday afternoon.
However, the decorated mentor refuses to get too caught up.
Although the magic number for teams to make it to the quarterfinals is six, the Bolts aren’t assured yet of a trip to the said round set to begin later this week, according to the league’s stats chief Fidel Mangonon III.
At present, Meralco sit in fourth with a 6-4 card. However, there is still the possibility of a logjam at the bottom half of the standings among Meralco, Alaska, San Miguel, Rain or Shine, Magnolia, and NLEX.
The Aces are sporting a similar 6-4 card, while the reigning five-time champs Beermen, the Elasto Painters, and the Hotshots all carry 5-4 records. The Road Warriors, lastly, have a 4-5 record.
The playoff race has tightened with the elimination round in its last three days, and the quarterfinal picture has yet to form. Black, though, is confident in their chances.
“We definitely have our fate in our own hands considering that we beat Magnolia, we beat Alaska, we beat Rain or Shine, we beat NLEX. And those are the teams that we’re fighting with right now,” he said.
If ever the tiebreakers come into play for the quarterfinal positioning, Meralco has the edge over those teams. It beat Alaska, 93-81, last Oct. 14 for its first win, then scored a 109-104 OT win over Magnolia.
The Bolts then owned NLEX through a 101-92 decision, before taking care of business by taking down Rain or Shine just last Thursday after scoring an 85-78 win that saw them avert a late-game collapse.
Still, the Grand Slam-winning mentor doesn’t want to be too confident even if the odds appear to be in their favor. They still have one more game left on Wednesday versus NorthPort, which, for the Bolts, is a must-win.
“So our last game becomes very very important. We play NorthPort on Wednesday. We win that game, that gives us a better chance of making it,” said Black, who’s looking for his first All-Filipino playoff stint in five years.
“Of course, there’s always a possibility of a three-way tie, so you’ll never know what happens with the quotient. But at the same time, we have our fate in our hands right now.”