With defending champion Talk 'N Text already assured of top spot regardless of the result of its last game in the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup, focus has shifted on which team will get the other twice-to-beat advantage.
The Texters got the top seeding with their 11-2 card and can afford the luxury of taking it easy when they face the Ginebra Kings on Dec. 9.
The second twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals is being disputed by San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine but, as things stand, San Mig Coffee has the inside track for the bonus as a result of their 93-92 win over Rain or Shine Sunday.
That win improved their record to 9-3 while ROS dropped to 8-5.
Rain or Shine's chances of getting the bonus is not entirely in their hands. First it must beat Barako Bull on Friday and then hope that San Mig loses its last two games to arrange a playoff for the last spot.
A split would be enough for San Mig to finish at No. 3.
The tournament format calls for the best two teams to face the Nos. 7 and 8 qualifiers in the quarterfinals, while the third to sixth finishers will clash in the crossover best-of-three series.
The bottom two teams will be eliminated automatically, one of them, for sure, is newcomer Globalport which has 1-11 record.
"We got two games. We got to clinch our spot," said San Mig coach Tim Cone. The Mixers will play the Globalport Batang Pier on Friday at the Big Dome, and the Meralco Bolts on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
A playoff game will be held on Dec. 10 if both San Mig and ROS end up with similar 9-5 marks.
Four other ball clubs will battle for position, all hoping to land either in the third to sixth spots, with one of them falling to seventh spot.
Alaska, Meralco and Ginebra are currently tied at 7-6, followed by Petron at 6-7, all with one game to play.
The Aces and the Boosters clash tomorrow, the Bolts meet the Mixers and the Kings face the Texters.
Barako Bull, on the other hand, kept its quarterfinal bid alive by beating Ginebra, 83-79, last Sunday which snapped a four-game losing skid and, more importantly, tied the Energy Cola at 4-9 with the Air21 Express for eighth place - also with one game left.