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Five teams vie for last three slots in playoff phase of PBA Commissioner’s Cup

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MAGNOLIA LEADS THE PACK — PBA.PH

FIVE teams embark on a spirited race for the last three available slots in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs as hostilities resume tomorrow.

NorthPort (5-4), TNT (4-5), Rain or Shine (4-5), NLEX (3-6) and a still-alive Terrafirma (2-7) hope to get the job done in their two remaining eliminations assignments to catch the quarterfinals bus.

Five seats in the Last-8 are already accounted for with Magnolia (9-1) assured of Top 4 and twice-to-beat advantage no matter what happens in its eliminations closeout game.

Phoenix (7-2), Meralco (6-2), San Miguel Beer (6-3) and holder Ginebra (6-3) are disputing the three other win-once bonuses, making their post-holidays assignments equally high-value.

Carrying identical 1-8 cards, Blackwater and Converge are out of it all but will surely aim for a graceful exit in the import-flavored Season 48 opener.

With five wins, sixth-running NorthPort enjoys the upperhand among the five quarterfinal aspirants.

The Batang Pier can formally clinch a quarterfinal ticket with win No. 6 tomorrow against the also-ran Bossing; if not, versus the Gin Kings on Sunday.

Governors’ Cup kingpin Tropang Giga and the rejuvenated Elasto Painters can advance without complications if they sweep their last two, which include their faceoff tomorrow and succeeding duel with the Fuel Masters and the FiberXers, respectively

If they can hurdle both Converge and Barangay Ginebra, the Road Warriors can reach as many as five victories, which might get them an outright entry or at least a rubbermatch, depending on the final records of the other camps.

For their part, the Dyip can get to a maximum of four Ws if successful against SMB and Meralco, but they have to pray it would be enough to still send them to a KO for the quarters. — Olmin Leyba

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