Meralco looks to secure the twice-to-beat advantage while Alaska tries to keep control of its quarterfinal fortunes when they battle separate opponents Wednesday, Sept. 22 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Bolts take on the NLEX Road Warriors at 3 p.m. with key players Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge set to return before the Aces take on the San Miguel Beermen in the other match of the penultimate day of the eliminations at 6 p.m.
Needing only a win to clinch the quarterfinal bonus, the Bolts are eager to show the form that enabled them to beat the Terrafirma Dyip and Blackwater Bossing last week despite the absence of Newsome and Hodge.
Newsome, Hodge and backup big man Raymar Jose missed the two games due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols that prevented Meralco from seeing action for almost two weeks.
At 7-2, Meralco is ahead of Magnolia Pambansang Manok, which went 8-3 in the eliminations, and hold the tiebreaker in the event the two teams have similar records.
NLEX, carrying an even 5-5 mark for share of sixth with NorthPort, is hoping to spoil Meralco’s first crack at the incentive and end the elims with a quarters berth.
The Road Warriors also need a victory to possibly avoid falling to a twice-to-beat disadvantage if they gain a quarters spot.
Alaska, on the other hand, needs to win its remaining two games despite a 3-6 record in order to have a strong chance of clinching a quarters berth.
A loss, however, will make things more difficult for the Aces to get a shot of at least a playoff for the last quarters berth.
Nothing’s at stake for San Miguel (6-4) except for seeding purposes since it is sure of a best-of-three series given to teams that placed third to sixth.