NLEX def Brgy. Ginebra, 76-72[PBA S48 PH Cup | May 5, 2024]

Not long ago, NLEX stood at the threshold of quarterfinals glory, a contender for the coveted Top 2 spot.

However, a streak of four consecutive defeats has seen the Road Warriors caught in a perilous predicament – they must triumph in their concluding elimination match, or face a daunting knockout showdown to secure a spot in the PBA Philippine Cup Last Eight.

The showdown looms large; it’s NLEX versus Barangay Ginebra at 6:15 p.m. in the iconic Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the climax of a one-round-robin elimination phase.

Victory is paramount for the Road Warriors – it spells salvation from a catastrophic failure and guarantees a respectable mid-pack finish at 6-5.

For the Gin Kings, the stakes are not as high – it’s about preservation; maintaining their impressive run and building momentum for the upcoming playoffs.

Recent stumbles by TNT, NLEX, and Magnolia have gifted coach Tim Cone and his battalion a trouble-free journey into the Top 2.

As it stands, Magnolia could still match Ginebra at second place with a 7-4 record. Even in this case, the Kings would retain the desirable second spot and the lucrative twice-to-beat quarterfinals advantage, courtesy of the winner-over-the-other rule.

This is because the Gin Kings outdid Magnolia in their last Manila Clasico battle, winning 87-77.

Regardless of the odds, expectations are high that the Gin Kings will not be complacent against Robert Bolick and his squad.

Similarly, NLEX coach Frankie Lim isn’t banking on an easy victory.

The Road Warriors are now faced with the challenge of girding their loins for the most crucial showdown of the tournament.

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