PBA: Perpetual Champions open Philippine Cup playoffs

Paul Lintag on Apr 06, 2019 05:25 AM
PBA: Perpetual Champions open Philippine Cup playoffs
Both teams finished with identical 7-4 records in the elimination round but TNT is technically the higher seed at no. 4 due to head-to-head results.

It’s finally time for the PBA playoffs.

The 2019 PBA Philippine Cup features some intriguing matchups in the first round and up first is reigning four-time defending champion San Miguel Beer taking on longtime rival TNT KaTropa.

It’s the battle of the only two Perpetual champions in PBA history.

TNT accomplished it first earlier in this decade, winning three straight All-Filipino titles.

San Miguel matched that in 2017 and last year, the Beermen surpassed it, taking a fourth straight Philippine Cup title.

Both teams finished with identical 7-4 records in the elimination round but TNT is technically the higher seed at no. 4 due to head-to-head results.

Still, history favors the Beermen. This is the third time in the last four conferences that both flagship teams faced each other in the quarterfinals. San Miguel won both and was 3-0 in those two previous showdowns.

The Beermen also won the last time both teams faced each other in the Finals as San Miguel captured the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup in six games.

“TNT is really playing well,” San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said as the KaTropa recovered from a 0-2 start to have a five-game tear in the middle of the All-Filipino.

“The good thing is we have time to prepare for them,” he added. The Beermen wrapped up the elimination round before the All-Star break, giving them a good two weeks of down time.

TNT also had a good two weeks but the KaTropa got blown out in their final game of the elimination round, snapping their five-game run and elimination them fro ma shot at a top-2.

A top-2 finish would have meant a twice-to-beat edge for TNT. They avoid San Miguel in round 1 as well.

But that’s in the past and the KaTropa are ready to take on the champs.

“Wala kang magagawa kung ganun,” head coach Bong Ravena said after missing out on a playoff bonus.

“San Miguel, it’s not easy. Ganun talaga. Kailangan paghandaan mo sila, tignan natin,” he added.

If the battle of Perpetual champions is not enough to gey everyone excited of this TNT-SMB clash, this series also features a Terrence Romeo, now a key cog in the Beermen machine.

Romeo was supposed to be the one to take over TNT’s future just last season. He was pretty much exiled from the team and now, if healthy, Terrence gets his first shot at his former team.

Terrence was out with an ankle injury when TNT beat San Miguel in the elimination round.

Game 1 of TNT vs. San Miguel will be Saturday as both flagship teams open the Philippine cup playoffs.

 

Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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