BIÑAN CITY, Laguna -- With six straight wins, Biñan City surged its way into the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Southern Division playoff picture, particularly in the race for the final playoff spot in the said group.
However, the team saw its streak snapped in arguably the worst of timings, losing at home to Pasig, 75-82, at the Alonte Sports Arena here on Tuesday night.
With the loss, coupled by the Bicol Volcanoes' 86-72 win over the Sarangani Marlins earlier in the night, the Heroes, instead of possibly tying the Volcanoes for the eighth spot in the South assuming the reverse of the results happened, now found themselves two games behind them for the eighth seed.
With only three games left in his team's schedule, Coach Denok Miranda conceded that Biñan City's fate to make the Sweet 16 is not anymore in its hands.
"May chance pa naman kami pag nanalo kami ng three games, pero mananalangin kami na matalo ang ibang teams. So hindi namin control [ang sitwasyon] (We still have a chance if we win our next three games, but we now need to pray that the other teams will lose. So the situation is not in our control)," Miranda told the Philippine News Agency after the game. "Ang mako-control lang namin is manalo kami. Ang business namin is yung kami lang (What we can control is for us to win. Our business is just for us)."
Cebu, which took a bye on Tuesday, is the other team chasing the last playoff seat in the South.
Playing in its last home game for the regular season, the Heroes stifled the Realtors, who also have their own playoff-related agenda in the game, in the second quarter, holding them to just 12 points while taking a 41-36 halftime lead.
But just when Biñan City thought it was holding off Pasig in the third quarter, the latter pulled off a 23-1 run spanning through the fourth quarter to take the lead for good, something Miranda rued so much.
"Medyo binatuhan kami ng depensa ng kabila. Ang ganda rin ng adjustments sa kabila. Kami naman is na-frustrate noong hindi kami naka-shoot noong third. Nawala kami sa disiplina totally (The opposing side threw some defense on us. The opposing side's adjustments were good. We got frustrated when we could not shoot during the third. We lost in our discipline totally)," he added.
Jed Mendoza and James Mangahas still carried the fight for the Heroes in the end, conniving on a 14-4 run to finish the game, but the comeback still fell short.
In spite of it, Miranda lauded his players for the gallant stand.
"Lumaban nang lumaban ang players para ma-carry over namin for next game (The players fought bravely so we can carry it over to the next game)," he added.
On paper, Biñan City has the toughest schedule left among the wildcard contenders in the South.
The team will face Pasay on Friday night, Iloilo on Monday night, and Davao Occidental on Feb. 3, all away from home.
"[It is a] tough schedule, pero syempre ganyan naman talaga eh. Challenge eh. Harapin namin yan (but it is what it is. It is a challenge. We will face it)," Miranda continued. (PNA)