The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is scheduled for a Game 1 quarterfinals head-to-head match against the NLEX Road Warriors at 6:45 PM on March 19, 2023 live from the Smart Araneta Coliseum at Quezon City, Metro Manila.
The Gin Kings will battle the sister team of TNT Tropang Giga which gave them the dose of their own medicine in their recent outing which of course they wanted to avoid another end-game meltdown while the Road Warriors are eyeing to extend their third conference campaign which they have dominated in the early phase of the tournament.
The PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals are set and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings are set to face off against the NLEX Road Warriors. Both teams have missed out on their initial goals, but they remain determined to make the most of the remaining opportunities. The Gin Kings, who missed out on the top seed, are now the third seed, and they have a chance to move to the semifinals quickly. However, the Road Warriors, who failed to take the Top Four, need to win two in a row to make it to the semis.
It’s a rematch of the previous semifinal clash in the last Governors Cup won by the Kings before they went on to conquer old rival Meralco in the finale. As the titleholder, Ginebra is the favorite, but coach Tim Cone has his concerns, including their depleted lineup minus Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio. But the Kings are confident they can compete.
“I think we just got to focus more down the stretch. We’re a veteran team, so I think we should have been smarter,” said Gin Kings import Justin Brownlee, ruing their endgame downfall against TNT Friday.
“The biggest thing there was turnovers. We got more rebounds. We shot a good percentage. We shared the ball pretty well – we’re close to about 30 assists. Overall, I think we did a great job. But that last portion of the fourth quarter, that really hurt us,” added Brownlee.
The Road Warriors, on the other hand, went down to a 120-106 loss to San Miguel Beer, which relegated them from No. 4 to No. 6. Thus, coach Frankie Lim and his troops must win Sunday’s 6:45 p.m. tussle with the Kings to send their matchup to a decider.
But Wayne Selden Jr. and his NLEX teammates definitely have a job cut out for them versus Brownlee and the rest of the battle-tested Ginebra crew. Guys like Kevin Alas, Don Trollano, and Brandon Rosser have to step up for NLEX to have a fighting chance.
Ginebra’s loss to TNT was a wake-up call for the Gin Kings. They must play smarter and more composed down the stretch. Brownlee believes that the Kings were a better team than the one that lost to TNT.
“I think we just got to focus more down the stretch. We’re a veteran team, so I think we should have been smarter,” said Brownlee about the loss.
The Kings had a commanding 98-84 lead with 10:33 to play in the fourth quarter after a Stanley Pringle three-pointer. However, the Tropang Giga went on a 16-1 run in a five-minute stretch to take the upper hand, 100-99, on a left-handed dunk by import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
While Ginebra reclaimed the lead, Roger Pogoy took matters into his own hands and scored seven straight points in a span of almost two minutes as TNT finally controlled the game, 110-104, entering the homestretch.
Brownlee pointed out turnovers as the ones that did Ginebra in. They committed a total of 22 turnovers or half of TNT’s total of 11.
“Our focus went out of it (stretch run of the fourth), and TNT did a really good job of taking advantage of that,” added Brownlee.
The Gin Kings must remain focused throughout the game, especially during the closing minutes, to avoid a similar fate. Coach Tim Cone acknowledged that the team was missing two key players, but they are confident that their bench players can step up and deliver.
“We’ve been in this situation before, where we’re missing a key player or two,” said Cone.