Target locked on top-seed for title favorite Hong Kong

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 12, 2017 03:40 PM
Target locked on top-seed for title favorite Hong Kong
PLAYOFF PICTURE. Steven Guinchard and Hong Kong have proved to be the hands-down team to beat in the tournament.

One more win and league-leading Hong Kong wraps up the top-seed for the playoffs in the 2016-2017 Asean Basketball League.

One more win and Singapore joins them in the top two.

The one and two-seeds, as well as the homecourt advantages it brings, may very well be decided on Sunday.

That is, if the Eastern Long Lions take care of the Philippines and the Slingers take care of Saigon.

At 14-2, Hong Kong needs just one more win in its last four assignments (Philippines, Saigon, Philippines, Saigon) to seize homecourt advantage for both the Final Four and the Finals.

Meanwhile, at 11-6, Singapore needs just one more win in its last three assignments (Kaohsiung, Saigon, Saigon) to ensure a top two finish in the elimination round. In doing so, it will close the door on any homecourt advantage for 9-8 Alab Pilipinas.

The picture for the last two spots in the playoffs is a little more muddled.

The Filipinos need just one more win to punch a place in the playoffs, but two of their remaining three games are up against the Eastern Long Lions who have blown them out to the tune of a 13-point average margin of victory.

After them, the Heat have the clearest path to the Final Four. At least three more wins added to their 6-9 record and they will move onto the next round.

However, all but one of Saigon’s remaining five games are up against league-leaders Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hoping that lady luck will be on their side are the Kaohsiung Truth who, if the Heat falter, can sneak into the playoffs. To do so, however, 5-11 Achie Inigo and Raymar Jose-reinforced side need to sweep all of their remaining four games (Singapore, Malaysia, Malaysia, Philippines).

For defending champion Westports Malaysia, a miracle is needed to make it into the Final Four.

The Dragons’ 5-11 record is more than lacking, but if they win out in all of their remaining three games (Saigon, Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung) and both Saigon and Kaohsiung fail to get the job done, a miracle may very well come true.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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