It is a game of no tomorrow when the protagonists of the last Philippine Cup finals series, San Miguel and TNT, rekindle their rivalry in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Both looking to climb up the hole they dug themselves in following a roller-coaster conference, the Beermen and the Tropang Giga enter their all-Filipino Cup finals rematch at 6:45 p.m. with hopes of boosting their respective bids for a playoff spot.
Providing the appetizer to the huge collision is the battle between the playoffs-seeking Phoenix and the also-ran Terrafirma in the curtain raiser at 4:30 p.m.
Between the two teams, however, the Beermen have the better odds of advancing to the next round by virtue of their two-game winning run that hiked their record to an even 5-5 slate, good for the sixth spot in the standings.
A victory against their arch-rivals would have their one foot already inside the playoff picture and also put themselves in the position to move further up the ladder and avoid the twice-to-win disadvantage at the seventh and eighth spots.
Things are looking good so far for SMB when it comes to its playoff push especially after the solid comeback for main man June Mar Fajardo who immediately made his presence felt with 20 points and nine rebounds in his first game since his throat surgery.
The impending return of Terrence Romeo is also expected to add more firepower to an already potent guard rotation that featured Simon Enciso, Chris Ross, Jericho Cruz, and Marcio Lassiter.
In contrast, the free falling Tropang Giga have been bitten hard by injury bugs with veteran guard Jayson Castro and reliable backup Kib Montalbo still in the sick bay. Not even the addition of new import Matt Mobley who replaced injured Cam Oliver could spare TNT from absorbing its third straight defeat for 4-7 slate at the 10th place.
Mobley quickly impressed in his debut, finishing with 38 points and five rebounds but he will need more from his supporting cast led by Mikey Williams and RR Pogoy if they wish to pull the rug from under the Beermen.
And even if they win against SMB, that would only be half of the conditions for them to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in four years. TNT will also need to pray that teams like Rain or Shine, Phoenix and Meralco – all of which are sitting ahead of it in the standings – lose all their assignments to get a chance to book a spot to the next round.