KEVIN PAMBA and BURI GABI
THE top four places of the bemobile Cup finals are already booked by Agmark NGIP Guria (20), Masta Mak Rangers (16), Bintangor Lahanis and Toyota Mioks (15) and this weekend’s battle is for the fifth position among the bottom four teams.
SBS Muruks, the defending premiers are currently warming the fifth rung with nine points. Close on their heels on seven points apiece are last season’s grand final runners-up Bintangor Eagles, PNGATCL Bombers and Civpac NCDC Vipers, with two matches remaining including this Sunday’s round 13 matches.
A victory by Muruks over Guria in Lae on Sunday will all but confirm the fifth position for them and the other three teams will play for formalities.
Muruks bombed their chances to seal the fifth position last weekend against the Mioks in Lae and they are on shaky grounds against an in-form Guria outfit.
Guria have shown the mettle to score victories in “enemy” territory this year, something they struggled to do in past seasons and preventing the East New Britain juggernaut from sealing the fate of the Muruks in history is the Mendi men’s biggest assignment yet.
The Eagles and Bombers battle out their chances at Madang’s Ron Albert Oval and a victory is assured for one of them.
The Vipers face an uphill battle against an in-form Lahanis in Port Moresby and the Masta Mak Rangers are away to Toyota Mioks in Wabag.
A loss by Muruks and a win by one or two of the bottom three teams will make the final round match next week even more challenging.
The Vipers meanwhile, are out to make sure they slip into the finals contention when they tackle the Lahanis at the Lloyd Robson Oval on Sunday.
The Vipers, are hoping Guria beat Muruks to open up their final chances.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are taking their game at the notorious Dickson Siki Oval seriously.
Rangers’ boss Kelly Aiyok told The National early this week that as a team consisting of top players from around the country, he does not believe in such things as “graveyard” in the bemobile Cup matches.
“My boys will be out in force to stop the Mioks late season surge,” he vowed.
Guria coach Michael Marum is not taking the Muruks lightly admitting that the pride of Southern Highlands have talented players like Joseph Omae, Jessie Joe Parker and Anton Kui, who are quite capable of upsets.
It will all boil down to Guria’s attacking machine George Moni, Rodney Pora, Channel Aquila and Dion Aiye to square off with their opponents.