A massive semifinal matchup pits San Miguel against Ginebra

Jan 30, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – Teams looking to shake up the monotony are pitted against one another in the semifinal matchups.

To compete for a chance to win another title, the massive giants are on the opposing side.

This is a titanic match between San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra, two corporate brothers who each shared each of the previous four PBA Commissioner’s Cup wins and two teams that have won all but five of the last 21 PBA titles that have been contested in the league.

At eight o’clock in the evening, the exciting battle starts. Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum will feature a power struggle between the Gin Kings, who are riding high after winning five games, and the Beermen, who are coming from six straight victories.

Following an 8 to 3 one-round robin elimination stage, both teams advanced to the best-of-five semifinals with a single victory.

The San Miguel Beermen and Barangay Ginebra Kings have a history of fierce playoff rivalries, with one particularly memorable episode being the previous year’s Governor’s Cup quarterfinals. A gripping tale of redemption in the current tournament was set in motion when the Beermen, struggling with injuries, lost that series in three games to the Kings.

In their elimination match during the continuing competition, the Beermen defeated the Kings convincingly, 95-82, turning the tables on them. Their forthcoming playoff meeting is now much more anticipated because of this turn of events, as the Beermen have proven their ability to bounce back from earlier disappointments.

Jorge Gallent, the Beermen’s strategic thinker at the helm, will have a stronger tool at his disposal with import Bennie Boatwright. With this signing and an even deeper bench, the Beermen have better odds going into the pivotal playoff games. The Beermen are a dangerous force as they look to exact revenge on the Kings thanks to Coach Gallent’s versatility in making strategic decisions and adjustments due to the depth of their team.

On the other side, planning a strategy to counter the combined might of Boatwright and June Mar Fajardo presents a significant task for Tim Cone, the seasoned coach in charge of the Ginebra team. Cone and his coaching staff will need to take care of Fajardo’s towering presence and Boatwright’s skill set in order to ensure a successful outcome for the Kings.

Important players like Christian Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar, and Tony Bishop are in charge of the defense. It will be difficult for this trio to contain the explosive combination of Boatwright and Fajardo. The Ginebra backcourt, which includes playmaker Scottie Thompson, also needs to step up to offset the Beermen’s offensive strength.

With the addition of Maverick Ahanmisi and the return of the seasoned LA Tenorio to their lineup, the Kings, however, have seen some encouraging prospects. The Kings’ roster gains new vitality and experience from these acquisitions, which might tip the scales in their favor. Tenorio’s leadership and Ahanmisi’s abilities may be crucial in helping the team overcome the obstacles the Beermen present in the forthcoming playoffs.

But even with all the deadly SMB weaponry in there—from CJ Perez to Terrence Romeo through Jericho Cruz, etc.—the question remains: will they rival San Miguel’s lethality?

At 40.5 scores, 12.5 rebounding, 4.0 assists, and 42.5 minutes per game on a typical basis, Boatwright is a player who shouldn’t be disregarded. Average 23.6 scores, 12.6 rebounding, 3.4 assists, as well as 42.4 minutes is Bishop of Ginebra.

Fajardo missed six games, Romeo missed four, Cruz missed two, Jeron Teng missed eight, Simon Enciso missed seven, Kyt Jimenez missed nine, and Vic Manuel missed eleven, but San Miguel nevertheless won six straight and had an 8 to 3 performance in the elimination round.

Cone, though, also has a strong workforce at his disposal.

And these all point to an extremely intriguing series.

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