<
>

PBA Commissioner's Cup Power Rankings: Bay Area Dragons stay top as playoffs beckon

With a 10-2 record in the elimination round of the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's Cup, the dominant Bay Area Dragons will head into the playoffs as the top seed with a twice-to-beat advantage. PBA Media Bureau

Only two game days remain in the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's Cup, and it's still pretty much a race for six teams in the running for the last four playoff spots.

Bay Area Dragons is in a great spot heading into the playoffs with both the top seed and the twice-to-beat advantage in hand, while Magnolia Hotshots, Converge FiberXers and Barangay Ginebra are all still vying for the second berth heading into the last week of the elimination round.

Elsewhere, it's San Miguel Beermen, NorthPort Batang Pier, Phoenix Super LPG, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Meralco Bolts and NLEX Road Warriors looking to keep their respective campaigns alive.

Sid Ventura and Eros Villanueva are here with the latest Power Rankings.

1. BAY AREA DRAGONS (10-2)

Previous rank: 1st

There's no slowing down the Dragons. After running circles around a TNT Tropang Giga squad that crashed out of playoff contention, Bay Area is now 8-0 with Myles Powell, who should only thrive under brighter lights once his squad begins its playoff campaign as the top seed with a twice-to-beat advantage. Coach Brian Goorjian's team will have to wait a bit more to find our who they will face in the quarterfinals, but right now it simply does not matter. Bay Area, owners of the league's best offense and defense, are primed to steamroll past anybody in front of them. Until someone proves they can stop the Dragons, they remain the favorite. -- Villanueva

Up next: Depends on the results of the last two game days

2. MAGNOLIA HOTSHOTS (9-2)

Previous rank: 2nd

The Hotshots took care of business in Week 9 with a convincing win 108-96 over the Bolts that solidified their claim to the No. 2 spot in the quarterfinals. A win over the Elasto Painters in their final elimination-round game on Friday will formalize this. Magnolia still boasts the tournament's stingiest defense (90.9 points allowed per game), which more than makes up for the fact that the team is last in three-point shots attempted (25.1) and made (7.4) per game. -- Ventura

Up next: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (Dec. 2)

3. BARANGAY GINEBRA (8-3)

Previous rank: 5th

Losing to NLEX -- which just lost to the worst team in the PBA in Terrafirma Dyip -- was a pretty displeasing way to go about things for a Ginebra squad that has legitimate championship aspirations, but the Gin Kings wasted no time getting back on track by hammering a NorthPort team that was on a three-game roll entering Sunday. Their depth, versatility, and relative experience should make them a tough match in the playoffs, but Ginebra -- one of just two teams to post top-four offensive and defensive ratings, per RealGM -- can double down on those advantages if they snag the last twice-to-beat advantage, though that involves a Magnolia loss on Friday. -- Villanueva

Up next: Converge FiberXers (Nov. 30)

4. CONVERGE FIBERXERS (8-3)

Previous rank: 3rd

The FiberXers took Week 9 off, which is hopefully enough time for everyone to move on from the Quincy Miller benching that marred their last game -- a crucial loss against NorthPort. There's still a chance for Converge to finish in the top two, but it will take a combination of several factors, including a win over Ginebra on Wednesday. A loss could potentially drop them to the fourth seed, where a more dangerous opponent -- such as San Miguel or NorthPort -- awaits in a best-of-three series. -- Ventura

Up next: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (Nov. 30)

5. SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN (6-5)

Previous rank: 7th

Here come the Beermen. A regulation win over Terrafirma and a victory over TNT, that looked easier than expected, have revived San Miguel's once-dwindling playoff hopes, and the team is in good position to seal a quarterfinals spot if they get it done on Friday against Meralco. As it stands, the odds are in their favor simply because they have June Mar Fajardo back in the fold. 'The Kraken', who returned from a six-week layoff after undergoing throat surgery, hardly looked rusty in his first two games and averaged 16.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists on 75% shooting, re-injecting San Miguel with its trademark dominance right in time for the playoffs and making the prospect of a first-round matchup with the Beermen an incredibly unsettling possibility for the rest of the teams jockeying for position in the standings. -- Villanueva

Up next: Meralco Bolts (Dec. 2)

6. NORTHPORT BATANG PIER (6-6)

Previous rank: 4th

The Batang Pier saw their three-game winning streak end with a loss to Barangay Ginebra, that also closed out their elimination round schedule, and now they'll have to wait for the results of the last four games before they know their fate. At 6-6, NorthPort can finish as high as 6th or figure in a complicated five-way tie for fifth to 9th place -- that would lead to a knockout game between the two lowest-ranked teams based on quotient. The Batang Pier are -10 in their games against the four other teams, so they're right there on the bubble. The waiting will surely be nerve-wracking for them. -- Ventura

Up next: Depends on the results of the last two game days

7. PHOENIX SUPER LPG (6-6)

Previous rank: 9th

Phoenix needed to beat Terrafirma to end a three-game slide and gain a little bit of control over its playoff fate, and it did so by annihilating the Dyip by 51 points -- a nice respite from a skid that has seen the Fuel Masters go back and forth between being a fringe playoff team and being dark horse giant killers. Defense remains the calling card if they do make the playoffs -- they boast the third-best defensive rating following their elimination round run -- but it remains to be seen if the Phoenix offense (103.0 offensive rating, 10th entering Sunday) has enough firepower to keep them rolling in the quarterfinals. Eventually it might not matter, as that's a problem for tomorrow; with other teams still vying for a spot with two more game days left before the playoffs, the Fuel Masters are simply hoping they get their feet across the threshold first. -- Villanueva

Up next: Depends on the results of the last two game days

8. RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS (5-6)

Previous rank: 10th

As things currently stand, the Elasto Painters are hanging on to the 8th and last ticket to the quarterfinals after a much-needed win over the Blackwater Bossing last week. With NLEX (4-7) and Magnolia (4-6) both breathing down their necks, the Elasto Painters face a crucial game against powerhouse Magnolia on Friday. A loss would complicate matters and even eliminate them, but even a win is no guarantee of direct passage to the playoffs with the possibility of a tie for eighth still in the cards. They're in a tight spot, for sure. -- Ventura

Up next: Magnolia Hotshots (Dec. 2)

9. NLEX ROAD WARRIORS (4-7)

Previous rank: 13th

A week after losing to Terrafirma, NLEX wasted no time reminding everyone about the volatile, unpredictable nature of basketball by taking down the playoffs-bound Ginebra in overtime to fan its flickering hopes. The game was also an awesome reminder of the excellence of Don Trollano (26 points, seven triples vs. the Dyip) -- a bona fide star whom the Road Warriors recently locked down with a two-year extension. There remains a fat chance NLEX ends up missing the playoffs -- a loss to Meralco in their final assignment ends their conference outright -- but regardless of what the next week holds in store for them, the Road Warriors can at least look forward to a future where Trollano, Kevin Alas, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser make them a pretty competitive squad that's just a couple of pieces away from being contenders. -- Villanueva

Up next: Meralco Bolts (Nov. 30)

10. MERALCO BOLTS (4-6)

Previous rank: 6th

The Bolts saw their three-game winning run end Sunday after they lost for the first time with KJ McDaniels and now find themselves on the outside looking in with two games left against teams that are also battling for their playoff lives. If Meralco can top both NLEX and San Miguel in Week 10, then they gain at least a knockout game for the 8th and last quarterfinal slot. A number of possibilities will crop up if they finish 5-7, depending on results of the other remaining games. The only certainty is outright elimination if they drop both games. -- Ventura

Up next: NLEX Road Warriors (Nov. 30), San Miguel Beermen (Dec. 2)

11. TNT TROPANG GIGA (4-8)

Previous rank: 8th

There is a lot to unpack here, but let's begin with the established facts: TNT, which skidded out of the Commissioner's Cup by dropping its last four games, will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2018 Governors' Cup. Coach Chot Reyes, on the other hand, will not coach in the playoffs for the first time since 2001. It's nothing short of a disappointment for a Tropang Giga team that made the finals last conference, but it is a setback impacted by injuries to Jayson Castro, Kib Montalbo, and import Cameron Oliver; a rough patch mid-conference with top gun Mikey Williams; and a previously elite defense that has slipped significantly. A quick rebound is likely, but the Tropang Giga have legitimate issues to address heading into a short offseason. -- Villanueva

Up next: Finished elimination round assignments

12. BLACKWATER BOSSING (3-9)

Previous rank: 11th

After a promising start to their Commissioner's Cup campaign that saw them win three of their first six games, the Bossing finished the second half of the elimination round with six straight losses to miss the quarterfinals for the 6th straight conference. Their final game, a 19-point loss to Rain or Shine, typified their struggles as four of those six straight losses were by double digits. In the end, losing main men JVee Casio, Baser Amer and Troy Rosario to injuries was just too much to overcome, and Blackwater will just have to try again in the Governors' Cup. -- Ventura

Up next: Finished elimination round assignments

13. TERRAFIRMA DYIP (1-11)

Previous rank: 12th

And we're back to regular programming. Terrafirma followed up what now appears to be a fluke win over NLEX by losing in the next two by an average margin of 39.5 points. That includes a 51-point loss to Phoenix, which is somehow only their second-worst defeat of the conference since they lost by 54 to Bay Area over a month ago. There just isn't a clear path to being competitive here for the Dyip unless they tear everything down, rebuild from the ground-up, and actually decide they want to play for wins. -- Villanueva

Up next: Finished elimination round assignments