Barangay Ginebra got another lease on life on Thursday night, thanks to the NorthPort Batang Pier.
NorthPort's huge 122-94 victory over the Alaska Aces kept the Gin Kings in the hunt for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
Had the Aces won their final elimination round game, there would have been a quadruple tie at 4-7 among Alaska, Ginebra, Phoenix Super LPG, and TerraFirma. By virtue of their superior quotients, Phoenix and TerraFirma would have battled for the eighth spot.
Instead, Alaska fell to 3-8, and TerraFirma wound up having the inferior quotient in the triple tie with the Gin Kings and the Fuel Masters.
Ginebra will thus take on Phoenix Super LPG in a playoff for the eighth spot on Saturday.
The Gin Kings, the defending Philippine Cup champions, will still have their backs against the wall as there is no certainty that they will be at full strength on Saturday. Ginebra played without Scottie Thompson (health and safety protocol) and Japeth Aguilar (knee) against Meralco on Thursday, absorbing a 79-66 loss that put them at risk of missing the playoffs.
Phoenix, for its part, has not played since September 17 when it was rocked by San Miguel Beer, 110-80.
In the lone elimination round encounter between Ginebra and Phoenix, the Gin Kings came away with a 94-87 triumph after clawing their way back from a 19-point deficit.
The winner of the playoff will play top-seeded TNT in the quarterfinals, with the Tropang GIGA owning a twice-to-beat advantage.