Law of probabilities

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20090528

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Law of probabilities




SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson

San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra are safely in the semis as outright qualifiers but what are their chances of making it to the finals of the PBA Fiesta Conference?

Let’s review some historical data.

According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, only four outright semis qualifiers failed to advance to the finals in the last 18 conferences, meaning 14 made it or a 77.8 percent rate of success. So the chances of both San Miguel and Ginebra moving on to the finals are extremely high, close to an 80 percent probability. Six of the last eight conference champions were outright semis qualifiers.

Only two non-outright semis qualifiers managed to barge into the finals in the last five conferences – No. 3 Ginebra eventually capturing the 2008 Fiesta Conference title and No. 4 Talk ‘N’ Text finishing second in the 2007 Fiesta Conference.

The outright semis qualifiers that didn’t advance to the finals in the last 18 conferences were No. 2 Red Bull in the 2008 Fiesta Conference (swept by Ginebra in the semis), No. 1 Red Bull in the 2007 Fiesta Conference (lost to Talk ‘N’ Text, 4-2, in the semis), No. 2 Ginebra in the 2005-06 Fiesta Conference (lost to No. 3 Red Bull, 4-3, in the semis) and No. 2 San Miguel Beer in the 2006 Philippine Cup (lost to No. 3 Red Bull, 4-3, in the semis on a Junthy Valenzuela buzzer-beater in an 86-84 decision in Game 7).

Notice that San Miguel and Ginebra were previously eliminated in the semis despite being outright qualifiers – by the same coach Yeng Guiao of Red Bull, now with Burger King. So that bit of history doesn’t bode well for the Beermen and Kings.

The last time San Miguel and Ginebra faced off in the finals was in the 2006-07 Philippine Cup where the Kings recovered from a 0-2 series deficit to win, 4-2. The Beermen were then coached by Chot Reyes, now calling the shots for Talk ‘N’ Text. The Ginebra players who are still wearing Kings uniforms this conference were Jay-Jay Helterbrand, Sunday Salvacion, Ronald Tubid, Eric Menk, Billy Mamaril and Rafi Reavis. For San Miguel, the Beermen then who are still Beermen today were Dondon Hontiveros, Olsen Racela, Dorian Peña, Chris Calaguio, Danny Ildefonso and Wesley Gonzales.

Joseph Uichico made a triumphant debut as Ginebra coach.

If you follow the order of battle, the teams in line to meet San Miguel in the semis are Burger King, Alaska, Sta. Lucia and Coca-Cola while in the Ginebra route are Rain Or Shine, Barako Bull, Purefoods and Talk ‘N’ Text.

The wildcard phase begins today as No. 3 Rain Or Shine, with a twice-to-beat advantage, takes on No. 10 Barako Bull and No. 4 Burger King, also with a twice-to-beat advantage, meets No. 9 Alaska. On Friday, the twinbill features a pair of do-or-dies – No. 5 Sta. Lucia Realty versus No. 8 Coca-Cola and No. 6 Purefoods versus No. 7 Talk ‘N’ Text. If Barako Bull or Alaska or both win today, the clincher or clinchers will be played on Sunday. If Rain Or Shine and Burger King prevail today, the quarterfinals will start on Sunday.

The best-of-three quarterfinal pairings are as follows – Rain Or Shine/Barako Bull winner versus Purefoods/Talk ‘N’ Text winner and Burger King/Alaska winner versus Sta. Lucia/Coca-Cola winner.

To make way for the SEABA Championships in Medan, Indonesia, on June 6-9, the PBA will take a break for a little over a week. The last play date before the Medan tournament is June 3 and the PBA will resume its playoff schedule either on June 12, Friday, or 14, Sunday.

If both quarterfinal series begin this Sunday, they could theoretically end on Wednesday, June 3 with the semis to start either on June 12 or 14.

By the way, PBA operations manager Rickie Santos said yesterday the latest word is only the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore will play in the SEABA Championships. Thailand is not listed as an entry. The top two finishers will represent the Southeast Asian zone in the FIBA-Asia Championships in Tianjin, China, on Aug. 6-16.

In the last PBA conference, the two outright semis qualifiers Alaska and Talk ‘N’ Text advanced to the finals where the Tropang Texters beat the Aces, 4-3.



http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=471761&publicationSubCategoryId=69
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