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How Wednesday's games will affect the PBA Governors' Cup playoff seedings

For the last time this season, we're approaching the end game of the elimination round with still a lot of unanswered questions. While we know the team that will finish at number one, there is one playoff spot yet to be filled, with three other squads jockeying for position.

In order to gain some clarity regarding the four remaining scenarios heading into Wednesday's twin bill -- NLEX vs. Alaska and San Miguel vs. TNT, let's dissect what happens from all angles, and with all possible outcomes.

But first, here's what we know so far:

  • The NLEX Road Warriors will be the number one seed when the quarterfinals begins. Even if they end up having identical records with the Meralco Bolts, the Road Warriors still take the top spot by virtue of their win over Meralco in the elims.

  • The NorthPort Batang Pier are safely in the playoffs, regardless of the outcome of the games of the squads below them. Their 5-6 record is good enough to guarantee at least the 8th seed.

  • If Alaska loses to NLEX on Wednesday, the Aces will have a do-or-die battle against the Columbian Dyip for the 8th seed. If they win, they climb to 7th place with a 5-6 record, NorthPort will end up as the 8th seed.

That's it. The rest of the teams' fates are up for grabs. Let's take a look at what happens.

SCENARIO 1: NLEX AND SAN MIGUEL WIN

All of these scenarios are non-bearing for NLEX. This also sets up the aforementioned showdown between Alaska and Columbian.

The TNT-San Miguel game, though, will have an effect on the hunt for a twice-to-beat advantage. If San Miguel beats TNT, both teams will end up with identical records, forging a three-way tie at 7-4 with Barangay Ginebra.

Now here's where it gets tricky. Ginebra has a superior point differential than both San Miguel and TNT (Kings beat TNT, 96-93, and San Miguel, 129-124) As it stands right now, they have a +8 point differential, TNT has a -3 point differential, and San Miguel has a -5 point differential.

San Miguel now has two routes to a twice-to-beat advantage. If SMB defeats TNT, automatically they take the 4th seed, and TNT drops to 5th place. However, if San Miguel defeats TNT by 14 points or more, they it gains a superior point differential over Ginebra, and it will claim 3rd place. Ginebra will drop to the 4th seed, and TNT drops to 5th.

SCENARIO 2: NLEX AND TNT WIN

If TNT defeats San Miguel, it would finish in 2nd place, tied with the Bolts with an 8-3 slate. TNT defeated Meralco 116-113, so it holds the tiebreaker. Meralco then settles for 3rd place, Ginebra would be locked in at 4th.

If the Beermen lose, they would finish in 5th place, holding a tiebreaker over the Magnolia Hotshots. If the Aces lose, they finish with a 4-7 record, and will play a playoff against the Columbian Dyip for the 8th seed.

Guaranteed playoff seedings:

  • NLEX (2x to beat) vs Columbian/Alaska

  • TNT (2x to beat) vs NorthPort

  • Meralco (2x to beat) vs Magnolia

  • Ginebra (2x to beat) vs San Miguel

SCENARIO 3: ALASKA AND SAN MIGUEL WIN

If the Aces beat the Road Warriors, they finish with a 5-6 record, in a tie with the NorthPort Batang Pier. By virtue of a 106-99 win, the Aces will take the 7th seed, and the Batang Pier will settle for 8th, and the Dyip will be eliminated from playoff contention. NLEX will still remain as the number seed via a tiebreaker versus Meralco.

If the Beermen win, the aforementioned results depending on their winning margin applies.

SCENARIO 4: ALASKA AND TNT WIN

We know the drill already at this point: An Alaska win means it end up the 7th seed.

However, it becomes trickier when both Alaska and TNT win. It would result into a three-way tie at the top, with NLEX, Meralco and TNT all holding 8-3 records.

However, the Road Warriors defeated both teams and have a superior point differential. NLEX defeated Meralco and TNT, ending up with a +13 point differential. TNT ends up with an inferior point differential of -10 because of their 126-113 loss to NLEX. And despite losing to both TNT and NLEX, Meralco would still have a superior point differential of -9. That means Meralco will claim the 2nd seed, and TNT ends up in 3rd.

Guaranteed playoff seedings:

  • NLEX (2x to beat) vs NorthPort

  • Meralco (2x to beat) vs Alaska

  • TNT (2x to beat) vs Magnolia

  • Ginebra (2x to beat) vs San Miguel

TNT and San Miguel's final battle has major playoff implications, and both teams are going to go all-out to pick up that huge advantage in the quarterfinals. Alaska also has one last chance to control its playoff fate.