Can Barangay Ginebra beat the Meralco Bolts in a playoff series without import Justin Brownlee?
The Gin Kings get a chance to prove that when they start their 2020 PBA Philippine Cup best-of-five semifinal playoff against the Bolts 6:30 p.m., today, Wednesday, November 18 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena & Cultural Center Powered by Smart 5G.
Phoenix Super LPG and TNT Tropang Giga start the hostilities with their own playoff at 3:45 p.m.
The Bolts will be hungry for payback against Ginebra which has beaten them in three previous matchups.
Led by Brownlee the Gin Kings beat the Bolts in three championship encounters to win the 2016 Governors’ Cup, the 2017 Governors’ Cup and the 2019 Governors’ Cup.
Meralco will be led by Raymond Almazan, Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge up front. Allein Maliksi, Bong Quinto and Chris Newsome—who has taken on the mantle of being the team’s go-to player in the clutch—tend the backcourt and scoring chores.
The Gin Kings will be without Brownlee and center Greg Slaughter against the Bolts this time around. Ginebra will be led by Stanley Pringle, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson and LA Tenorio.
Phoenix and TNT kick off the PBA Semifinals earlier in the day with their own best-of-five series.
The Super LPG will be led by their Big 3 of Matthew Wright, Calvin Abueva and Jason Perkins. Wright, who has done everything needed by Phoenix to win, is the statistical leader this conference. Perkins has been a monster inside the paint.
But the man who has made the biggest impact on the team has been Abueva. Suspended for more than a year Abueva returned to action in time to help Phoenix win 6 of their past 7 games to reach the Semifinals.
In contrast without Abueva Phoenix could only win 3 of their past 5 games, losing to Ginebra and TNT in that span.
Phoenix faces a formidable challenge in TNT. TNT’s best 5 players—of Jayson Castro, Ray Parks, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Poy Erram—could basically start for the national team.
TNT will also have streak shooter Simon Enciso, veteran Ryan Reyes, youngsters Almond Vosotros and Samboy De Leon as well as bruisers Jay Washington and David Semerad.