The Manila Clasico and other battles of sister teams could also spice up the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations in the days leading up to Halloween and All Saints’ Day.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel vs Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (Oct. 25)
The Kings and Hotshots won’t have the luxury of playing before big crowds in the latest chapter of their sibling rivalry temporarily called as the “Bubble Clasico.”
Mostly competitive since both San Miguel Corporation teams’ became regular title favorites in the 2010s, Ginebra will enter the match having won its last four games and six out of the last eight against Magnolia.
Playoff implications are also at stake as the result could improve their chances of wresting the championship later in the conference.
TNT Tropang Giga vs NLEX Road Warriors (Oct. 29)
Poy Erram faces his former team for the first time since NLEX dealt the talented center to TNT last February.
The former Defensive Player of the Year could show what the Road Warriors are missing, or vice versa if his former coach Yeng Guiao can prove that there’s life after Erram.
Guiao is pinning on his group of big men in Michael Miranda, Raul Soyud, Kris Porter, rookie Will McAloney and even veteran Asi Taulava to counter Erram.
San Miguel Beermen vs Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (Oct. 30)
Some say that these two clubs could potentially meet in a title series pitting the PBA’s best All-Filipino team against the one determined to take that throne.
The absence of star June Mar Fajardo, however, could serve as a chance for the Kings to see if they are really a team that can end the Beermen’s reign of five consecutive Philippine Cup titles.
But SMB is also hungry to prove something to Ginebra, especially after seeing its Grand Slam hopes disappear last season with a quarterfinal loss to the same team in Governors’ Cup.
Meralco Bolts vs TNT Tropang Giga (Oct. 31)
Unusual times call for unusual things, particularly having games on Halloween and All Saints’ Day.
Halloween will see the only tripleheader of the eliminations, with the Meralco-TNT duel playing the middle part of the schedule.
Meralco holds the bragging rights over TNT, winning their five-game semifinal series in last year’s Governors’ Cup.
Playoff implications (Nov. 1 until Nov. 11)
All games in November are expected to be crucial in determining the playoff hopes of everyone inside the bubble.
Even non-bearing games could make or break the chances of teams seeking to extend their stay in Clark while those likely to be eliminated may want to play the role of spoilers and make good memories before returning to Manila.
Some of the interesting games during the final 11 days of the elims are SMB-NorthPort (Nov. 1), TNT-Magnolia (Nov. 3), TNT-Ginebra (Nov. 8) and Ginebra-NorthPort (Nov. 10).