PBA Weekly Preview: Twice-To-Beat Bids and The Hunt for Last Playoff Seats

Playoff implications abound in the last week of the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round.

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Photo via PBA Images

The last four games of the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round will surely give off playoff vibes. The remaining contests are full of playoff implications, from twice-to-beat bids to the last playoff tickets.

Let’s take a look at the powerhouse PBA battles to watch this week, as well as a couple of players to keep track of.

Interesting Games To Watch

Converge versus Ginebra (November 30)

Heading into their duel with similar records (8-3), Barangay Ginebra and the Converge FiberXers will definitely give us a game to remember. Their offense will be interesting to watch, as both these teams rank among the Top 5 squads in offensive rating and True Shooting percentage. Converge and Ginebra each boast an all-around import and a bevy of good playmakers, helping them generate great scoring opportunities.

Imports Quincy Miller and Justin Brownlee will surely do their thing, so let’s see who could pull off some surprises in tomorrow’s battle. Ginebra’s Jeremiah Gray has been effective off the bench in the last two games, averaging 11.5 points and 3.0 assists, including an efficient 6-of-11 clip from the three-point line. The Gin Kings might be giving Gray the momentum and confidence he needs heading into the playoffs, so he might see his fair share of shots against Converge.

San Miguel versus Meralco (December 2)

After losing to Magnolia on Sunday, the Meralco Bolts have two must-win games to end the elimination round. They will face another playoff-chasing team in NLEX on Wednesday, followed by a tough matchup with the San Miguel Beermen on Friday.

San Miguel is also not out of the woods just yet, as they’re still in danger of missing the playoffs. A desperate SMB squad headed by June Mar Fajardo poses a difficult challenge to Meralco, especially if their injured big man Raymond Almazan (ankle) doesn’t recover in time. 

Rising Stock: Don Trollano

NLEX Road Warriors forward Don Trollano has been firing on all cylinders in the last two games, averaging 26 points and a scintillating 50% clip from the three-point line (10-of-20). He drilled seven treys in that recent must-win game against Ginebra, and the Road Warriors need him to continue shooting like this in their upcoming game against the Bolts. Through nine games this conference, Trollano is norming a very efficient 47% clip from deep (6.4 attempts).

Due for a Bounce-Back: Allein Maliksi

Speaking of outside snipers, Meralco’s Allein Maliksi is certainly one of the best in the PBA. But he hasn’t been in his usual deadly form in the Bolts’ previous two assignments. Maliksi hasn’t hit a three-pointer in the last two games, and his ejection in an all-important game against Magnolia was a headscratcher, as how Meralco head coach Norman Black puts it. With a playoff seat on the line, the Bolts need Maliksi to be at his best this week.

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