MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra is in excellent position to claim the No. 1 seed in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup after a thrilling 90-89 victory over the Meralco Bolts on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The win gave them an 8-2 win-loss record, tied with the idle Star Hotshots, ahead of Friday's game against the Mahindra Floodbuster.
"This sets us up for a chance to get the No. 1 seed," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone after the game, which saw the Gin Kings survive a last minute rally by the Bolts.
"I know if we beat Mahindra, I'm pretty sure we have the No. 1 seed because of quotients. We beat San Miguel, TNT, and Star, the teams we're battling," he explained. "So I assume if we win our last game, then we get the No. 1 seed."
However, Cone knows all too well that getting the top seed in the conference does not guarantee a team of the championship. The last team that he guided to the No. 1 seed – the B-Meg Llamados of the 2011-12 Philippine Cup – flamed out in the quarterfinals, when they were stunned by the Gary David-led Powerade Tigers.
Still, he would rather have the No. 1 seed – and the twice-to-beat bonus that it gives his team – than not.
"It makes the road to the championship a little easier," he pointed out.
Ginebra made it to the Finals of the 2016-17 Philippine Cup, but they admittedly took the "hard road" to get there. They wound up as the seventh seed in the eliminations and had to beat Alaska twice to advance to the semifinals, where they triumphed in an emotional seven-game Manila Clasico series.
"By the time we got to the Finals, we were beat up, we had some injuries, and we just couldn't overcome that," Cone said. "Like I said, an easier road doesn't guarantee a championship, but it does increase your odds a little bit, and that's what we're going for."
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