The Commissioner’s Cup is drawing to a close and yet, the playoff picture is still unclear. With only four games left in the schedule, you’d think the playoff match-ups are set.

Think again.

The top half of the conference has been decided, with Rain or Shine and Talk ‘n Text holding a twice-to-beat advantage (not that it matters for Purefoods) and an NLEX-Meralco match booked (regardless of their respective games), but the other six playoff contenders and their positioning haven’t been decided yet. At this point, the only team that is completely eliminated is the Blackwater Elite (YES SMB FANS, YOU STILL HAVE A SLIVER OF HOPE). Let’s take a closer look at the current playoff bracketing. 20150323 pba standings

There are still four games left in the season — three of them with massive playoff ramifications. Simple calculus tells us that there are still 16 ways this season could go (record-wise) with Purefoods, Rain or Shine, Talk ‘n Text and Kia as the lone teams who’ve completed their season.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel

The Gin Kings are almost assured a playoff spot. The only way they lose their spot in the playoffs is if:

1. Barako wins their non-bearing (at least for NLEX) match on Tuesday.

2. Globalport wins their matchup against SMB on Tuesday, and;

3. They lose to Alaska by 29 points (or more).

That’s because Barako & Globalport winning their match-up sets up a possible four-way tie that may push them out. Just one of those not happening (like Barako losing) and they’re guaranteed a seat in the top 8.

A Barako win/Globalport loss (or vice versa) and a loss to Alaska sets up a  three-way tie. Between being tied with Barako and being tied with Globalport, Ginebra fans better hope it’s Globalport. That would set them up as the leader in the quotient system (+15 for Ginebra, -22 for Alaska, +7 for Globalport) in case they lose to Alaska (in case!). That would give them a big cushion. They can lose by as much as eight points against Alaska and they’d still be 6th (and set themselves up for a three-game series against Purefoods). That’s a stark contrast to Scenario 2 (Barako wins, Globalport loses) — they lose the game, they’re assured of a twice-to-beat disadvantage.

Of course, all of this is moot if Ginebra wins their game against Alaska so Ginebra controls their destiny more than any team vying for the last three playoff spots.

Globalport Batang Pier

Globalport controls their destiny, to some degree. They control their playoff spot – a win in their game practically (although not mathematically) locks them into a playoff spot. Because of the advantageous distribution of their wins (with blowout wins against Alaska, Barako and Kia), they are in just a step below Ginebra on the playoff seeding. A win assures them of at least a 7th seed (maybe more depending on the Ginebra/Alaska game). In essence, these are Globalport’s possibilities if they win:

1. A 6th seed (and a date with Purefoods) if:

– Barako loses and Alaska wins by a margin between nine and 29 points; OR

– Barako wins and Alaska wins by 49 points or less.

2. A 7th seed (and a twice-to-beat disadvantage series against Talk ‘n Text) if:

– Barako loses and Alaska wins by a margin of eight and below OR 30 and above; OR

– Barako wins and Alaska wins by 50 points or more; OR

– Ginebra wins (regardless of Barako victory).

If they lose, they’re set onto a more difficult path of depending on other teams to put them in certain spots, though because of their blowout wins against teams that matter, they have a giant cushion. These are Globalport’s playoff possibilities, all highly improbable:

1. A 7th seed:

– Barako and Alaska lose, Globalport loses their game against San Miguel by 28 points or less.

2. An 8th seed if:

– Barako wins, Alaska loses and Globalport loses their game against San Miguel by 20 points or less; OR

– Barako loses, Alaska wins and Globalport loses their game against San Miguel by 13 points or less; OR

– Barako and Alaska lose and Globalport loses their game against San Miguel by a margin between 29 to 48 points.

Barako Bull Energy Cola

The Energy Cola are the team right behind the Gin Kings and the Batang Piers in terms of “likelihood of nabbing a playoff spot.” Just like the teams above them, a win by the Energy Cola almost guarantees a playoff spot EXCEPT for the case when both Globalport AND Alaska win their games, setting up the dreaded four-way tie between Globalport, Barako, Alaska and Ginebra — where Barako’s quotient ranks second last (-15), not taking into account the win margin by Alaska.

A loss, however puts the faith of a playoff berth, in the hands of Globalport (they should win) and Alaska (they should lose). Any other scenario (GBP win + Alaska win, GBP loss + ALA win, GBP & ALA loss) invokes horrible quotient marks for them.

Alaska Aces

The Aces are not in control of their destiny. A loss mathematically eliminates them from the playoffs but a win doesn’t quite assure a playoff berth. Ouch. To better understand their situation:

1. If Barako and Globalport win their games, they have to win their game against Ginebra by:

– at least 10 points to get the 8th seed

– at least 19 points to get the 7th seed; AND

– at least 50 points to get the 6th seed.

2. If Barako wins and Globalport loses, they have to win their game by:

– at least one point to get the 7th seed; AND

– at least six points to get the 6th seed.

3. If Barako loses and Globalport wins, they have to win their game by:

– at least one point to get the 8th seed;

– at least 19 points to get the 7th seed: AND

– at least 30 points to get the 6th seed.

4. If both of those teams lose, they’ll get the 6th seed. BAM!

Kia Carnival

Kia, with their season already over, has to depend on other teams to get into the playoffs. For them to even have a chance at the playoffs, Alaska has to lose their game but it all depends on how Barako does and by how much SMB has to win.

1. if Barako wins, SMB has to win by a margin between 21 points and 30 points.

2. if Barako loses, SMB has to win by 41 points (or more)

The key here is for San Miguel to enter the conversation (by winning against Globalport). A win by San Miguel (along with Barako and Alaska winning) creates a four-way tie that favors Kia. Not only will they get a higher quotient because SMB is in the equation (they won by 10 against SMB), Globalport — the only team with a better quotient than them in the four-way tie — gets a lower quotient.

Kia has NO other chance of getting to the playoffs outside these two possibilities.

San Miguel Beermen

Like Kia, SMB depends on other teams to get them into the playoffs. A loss guarantees a bottom two finish. Plain and simple. But a win doesn’t guarantee a playoff seat. They have to pray:

1. If Barako wins and Alaska loses, SMB has to win by 31 points to get in.

2. If Barako loses and Alaska wins, SMB has to win by 14 points to get in.

3. If both Barako and Alaska lose, SMB has to win by 11 points to get in (by 29 points if they want to get the 7th seed, but that’s moot at this point). 

SMB is in a tough position — they really have no control here since their game is set for Tuesday. They better pray Barako loses — their odds are better (considering they have to outscore GBP by a “smaller” margin lol).

Now,whatever team you’re following, you know who root for ;)