MANILA—The battle for the remaining quarterfinal slot heats up today as Rain or Shine battles Air 21, while the Coca-Cola Tigers face Sta. Lucia in the knockout wildcard phase of the 35th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine (9-9), which finished sixth, meets the ninth placer Express (4-14) at 6:30 p.m. The no. 7 Tigers (8-10) face off against no. 8 Realtors (5-13) at 4 p.m.
The two winners in the knockout stage will face each other on Wednesday to determine who will get the fourth and last quarterfinal slot.
B-Meg Derby Ace dropped to third and claimed the first quarterfinal berth following an 83-88 setback to San Miguel Beer in a playoff match on Friday. Both finished the elimination round with 13-5 records.
The Beermen advanced to the semifinal round along with top finisher Talk ‘N Text, which finished with a conference-best 15-3 card.
The Elasto Painters, on the other hand, suffered a 115-88 loss to Ginebra, which paved the way for the Kings to claim the third quarterfinal slot.
Rain or Shine needs to beat Air 21 today and hope for a big win against either Coca-Cola or Sta. Lucia on Wednesday to get a spot in the best-of-five quarterfinals against Ginebra.
Coach Caloy Garcia’s Elasto Painters are favored to prevail over the Express, whom they defeated twice in the elimination round. They beat them, 106-102, on May 9 and 113-111, on June 25.