It’s been a long journey since the start of the PBA season, and we’ve now approached the last calm period before all chaos breaks loose again. Meralco and KIA will play out their last game of conference play and the next to last game of regular season PBA basketball.
For Meralco, there isn’t really much they are playing for in this game. Win or lose, the Bolts could end up at either the 6th or 7th playoff seat (as referred to this simulation of all possible scenarios from Spin.PH).
From the possible scenarios, Meralco has a 75% chance to get the 6th seed if they win but still have a 50% chance to still get that 6th seed if they lose. Going by the numbers, Meralco has a 62.5% chance to play Rain or Shine and 37.5% chance to play the San Miguel Beermen.
But let’s not look too far ahead of ourselves. The end result might now mean much to the Bolts (playing the red-hot Painters/Beermen is a tough task whoever it ends up being), but they should use this setting as a chance to get ready for the playoffs.
KIA, on the other hand, is in a must-win mode. If they lose, they will be watching the PBA playoffs from home, missing out on the chance to make the playoffs for the first time in their debut season. Even if they win, they will have to stay after their game to cheer their hearts out for NLEX to beat Ginebra to make the playoffs.
It should be a good chance for Meralco to test themselves in a pressure situation against a team in a must-win situation. Norman Black should figure out his offense and what a playoff simulation it is going to be, going against KIA, who has the second best defense in the PBA at 97.6 Defensive Rating. Whoever they face in the playoffs (Beermen/Painters) will be playing a suffocating defense as well, so might as well try to figure they offense early on in this game.
KIA might not pose as much of an offensive threat for Meralco. They are shooting only 38.7% of their field goals, which is almost a full 2% lower than Blackwater. But KIA has their backs against the wall, and that sort of adrenaline rush might push them into a memorable season closing performance.
We couldn’t ask for two better season closing games than to have three out of four teams playing their hearts out for the final playoff spots.
I love this game.
TV: LIVE ON TV5 AND AKSYONTV
RADIO: RADYO 92.3 NEWS FM AND DZSR 918 KHZ AM
TIME: 4:15 PM
ARENA: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM
Featured Image Credit: KC Cruz, GMA Sports; Paul Ryan Tan, Sports 5