The visiting Bay Area Dragons succeeded in their initial goal of getting a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup—and that will come in handy as they brace for the unknown.
“We haven’t seen [the playoffs] yet because we haven’t been a part of it,” coach Brian Goorjian said after the Dragons secured the bonus with a 140-108 romp of the slumping TNT Tropang Giga on Wednesday at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
“But I know from everybody that [competition] goes up another level in all the areas that have been a concern for us,” added the Australian national team mentor who guided Bay Area to a 10-2 record after the eliminations.
Because of a superior quotient that will be applied in case of ties, Bay Area, which drew not only strong performances from import Myles Powell but also from local players like Kobey Lam, Zhu Songwei and Qilong Zheng, is assured of a top two finish regardless of a possible three-way tie with Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia.
Magnolia is at second at 8-2 followed by Ginebra, which carries a 7-2 slate.
But Goorjian, who had his share of experiences coaching teams in the playoffs of Australia’s National Basketball League and the Chinese Basketball Association, stressed the importance of capitalizing the advantage, with the possibility that its playoff position may result in a litmus test.
“You could get the [Philippine Cup] champion with their player back, their main player, the best local player in the league. We could end up drawing that in [possibly] finishing first,” he said.
That team could be the San Miguel Beermen, who in the nightcap rolled to a 131-103 win over the import-less Terrafirma Dyip in the return of June Mar Fajardo after missing the previous seven games following a throat procedure.
San Miguel improved to an even 5-5 record to climb up to sixth place. The Beermen will hope to stay no lower than that spot in order to play a best-of-three instead of needing to win twice as either the seventh or eighth seed.
Terrence Romeo was also in uniform for the first time, but did not play during the contest as San Miguel feasted on a Terrafirma side that played minus reinforcement Lester Prosper due to health and safety protocols. The Dyip were fresh off ending a 25-game skid at the expense of the NLEX Road Warriors.
The loss to Bay Area sent TNT to a 4-7 record, its third straight loss and five of the last six, and in danger of missing the quarterfinals.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.