IT’S heating up in the PBA Governors’ Cup as the quarterfinal games are on. The quarters’ second twin bill tonight will be as interesting as last night’s openers pitting defending champion Star Margarine versus GlobalPort and Ginebra against Alaska; first-day action was to start just hours away yesterday as I was pounding this column on my long-lasting laptop.

As we all know, the Top four teams in the eliminations had earned the twice-to-beat advantage over the teams occupying fifth to eighth places. Thus, Nos. 1-4 Alaska, San Miguel Beer, Rain or Shine and GlobalPort need only to win once over their quarterfinal foes to advance to the next round. Their opponents need to beat them twice to make it to the semifinals, which is a grueling best-of-five. The other two quarterfinalists are No. 7 Meralco and No. 6 Barako Bull.

The last four teams in the 12-squad league—Blackwater, Talk ‘N Text, Kia and NLEx—are now licking their wounds, or are enjoying a forced vacation—depending on who you are talking to?

After the quarters and best-of-five semis, the winners are mere survivors. With bodies aching, they tangle again, this time in an epic best-of-seven Finals duel.

Did No. 5 Star Margarine win yesterday to forge a winner-take-all against No. 4 GlobalPort and keep its title-retention hopes alive?

Known as Purefoods last year, Star Margarine was the Grand Slam champ—the fourth team to have done it after Crispa (1976 and 1983), San Miguel Beer 1989 and Alaska 1993. But already, Star Margarine had lost its All-Filipino title to sister-team San Miguel Beer in this season’s First Conference.

God willing, I might watch from ringside (should media-friendly Willy Marcial be gracious again to spare me tickets to the games) today’s games pitting San Miguel Beer against Meralco, and Rain or Shine versus Barako Bull.

Like GlobalPort and Alaska last night, No. 2 SMB and No. 3 RoS need only to defeat Meralco and Barako, respectively, today to barge into the semifinals. Otherwise, a winner-take-all would ensue.

Today being Saturday, it is always nice to spend it at the Cubao Big Dome, the time-tested factory of thrills. Willy M will make me enjoy the games—even without San Mig beer in hand.

(alsol47@yahoo.com)