Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Phoenix Super LPG dispute the eighth and final quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Tipoff is set at 4:35 p.m. with the winner of the do-or-die affair to punch its way to the quarters to face TNT, which carries the twice-to-beat advantage as the top seed after the eliminations.
Both teams want to take full advantage of the second chance of extending their campaigns after getting help from the results of the final week of the elims.
Ginebra seems to be the team with plenty to lose since no defending champion in the season’s most important tournament has missed the quarterfinals since Shell back in the 2000 All-Filipino Cup.
The Gin Kings are also putting at stake their streak of 37 straight quarterfinal appearances.
Things could be more difficult for Ginebra since its played the phase of the elims without key players Japeth Aguilar (MCL sprain) and Scottie Thompson (health and safety protocols).
But if there’s any advantage GInebra has is that it holds bragging rights over Phoenix after a come-from-behind 94-87 win last Sept. 15.
Phoenix, though, is keen on finishing the job this time in order to reach the quarters despite its own up-and-down showing.
One player to watch out for are Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle, whose 31 points played an important role in defeating Phoenix in the previous meeting.
Jason Perkins’ 30 points in a losing effort could be repeated while Matthew Wright is perhaps relishing on the pressure of fighting for survival.
Vic Manuel will not play for the Fuel Masters after sitting out the last two matches due to an injured leg.