MANILA, Philippines – A playoff matchup between San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra hasn’t occurred in a while.
This one is finally here after a long wait.
With a 127 to 93 thrashing of a Wayne Selden-less NLEX team on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Gin Kings, despite being denied a playoff top seeding, quickly advanced to the PBA Governors’ Cup Final Four.
Without the injured Selden, Justin Brownlee and his squad blasted the opening to force a best-of-five semifinal matchup with the Beermen. The Road Warriors just had no answer for Justin Brownlee and his colleagues.
Earlier, the second-seeded Beermen, who destroyed the Converge FiberXers 121 to 105, also made one attempt to get to the semifinals.
Because of this, Ginebra and San Miguel are currently engaged in a playoff matchup for the first time since the Kings defeated the Beermen in the 2019 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.
Being the fourth seed back then, Ginebra defeated San Miguel in a single attempt, defeated NLEX in a best-of-five semifinal series in four games, and then defeated Meralco 4 to 1 to claim the championship.
Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio continued to miss games because of their own health issues, but the Kings had no trouble securing a semis spot in the season-ending tournament.
The sixth-seeded Road Warriors only participated in the first period of the contest.
By outscoring the Road Warriors 38 to 19 in the second quarter, the Kings significantly increased their lead and held them off the rest of the way.
Ginebra led 56 to 36 at the half thanks to the combined efforts of Brownlee (19 points), Jamie Malonzo (16 points), eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
The Kings aren’t slowing down either.
Coach Tim Cone expressed his pride in his team for finishing the job and for not playing poorly against a rival team that did not have any international players.
Cone also expressed his regret for the Road Warriors’ misfortune and that of their coach Frankie Lim.
The worst possible luck, according to Cone.
With Brownlee finishing with 31 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists in addition to 20 points each from Standhardinger and Malonzo, the Kings didn’t pull any punches.
With 16 goals, Sean Anthony led the losing team.