Jockeying for top two positions
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
AFTER three consecutive Saturdays and four successive Sundays of skirmishes in the quarterfinals of group A and B of the 2nd Governor’s Cup Pangasinan Inter-Town/City Basketball Tournament, five of the ten teams of each group are jockeying not only for the top four positions to enter the Magic 4 but also for the right to earn the top two spots through the twice-to-beat incentive.
At presstime, so far, in group A, the defending champion Binmaley, the only unbeaten team (as of February 18) since the elimination round that pitted 35 towns, virtually clinched the first slot of four and secured the first of two twice-to-beat advantage. Last season’s first runner-up Manaoag and third runner-up Alaminos City, both toting six wins with single defeat, will battle for the second spot on February 25 at 2:30 p.m. at the Manaoag gym.
My town Mangaldan, in the fourth position as of last February 18 with five victories and two misfortunes, is facing a tough task against title-contender Manaoag on February 24 and the much-improved Malasiqui (3-4 win-loss record) on February 25 both to be conducted at the Manaoag gym. A single win for Mangaldan in their two remaining games assured them of the fourth or even the third spot, that’s if Malasiqui loses to Sual (1-6) on February 24 and if Mangaldan wins against Manaoag.
But in case Mangaldan loses its two remaining matches (Manaoag and Malasiqui) and Malasiqui wins against Sual, then Mangaldan will eventually be relegated to fifth place and will be booted out of the Magic 4, while Malasiqui will wrest the fourth and last slot for tying Mangaldan with 5-4 win-loss record. When that happens, the win-over-the-other FIBA rule method will be implemented to break the tie, according to the league commissioner Dr. Edilberto Abalos.
Unlike group A, the four teams -Urdaneta City, Lingayen, Sto. Tomas and the surging Mangatarem – of group B that are tied together for the top four positions (as of February 18) with six wins, one defeat each, already secured the coveted Magic 4 spot whatever the outcomes of their last two remaining games will be. They’re just jockeying for the very the top two slots to earn the twice-to-beat edge in the Magic 4. Affected the most in quarterfinals is Mangatarem as it faces top rivals Lingayen at Lingayen’s home court NRSCC on February 24 at 8:30 a.m. and finally Urdaneta on February 25, 2:30 p.m. at the Calasiao gym. And yes, for sure Lingayen and Mangatarem’s deadlock will be broken when they clash with each other and also against Urdaneta.
Sto. Tomas is heavily favored to win its jousts against lowly-rated Bugallon (2-5) on February 24 and against Bolinao (4-3) on February 25 and will be on the brink of winning the first or second spot for Magic 4, their first after two seasons, if lucky enough.
The scramble for the Magic 4 by Urdaneta, Sto. Tomas, Lingayen and Mangatarem is already moot and academic, but the competition for the top two positions remain precarious and a big deal for them for the vital twice-to-beat advantage. The final results for the top two slots in group A and B quarterfinals will definitely be known on February 25.
See you there.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” MARK 11: 25-26
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