The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings is scheduled for a head-to-head game against the Meralco Bolts at 6:45 PM on November 18, 2020, live from the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Few days after dismantling the five-time defending champions San Miguel Beermen (SMB) in their quarterfinals matchup, despite being at a disadvantage, the Bolts is all-set to face the highest-ranking team in the PBA bubble semifinals.
“We’re gonna have to regroup after this. Because the guys are really, really happy for making it to the semis. But you know, the battle is only half won,” Meralco head coach Norman Black stressed after their 90-68 win over SMB on Sunday.
“I’m gonna have to regroup them because the job is not finished. It’s only the semifinals. Now we have to put our sights on the finals,” added Black.
“I think we’re a much better team now than we were earlier in the conference, so hopefully, we can give them a run for their money,” Black further said.
Two days after erasing San Miguel’s twice-to-beat disadvantage to force a winner-take-all game last week, the Bolts decisively dictated the tempo on both ends of the floor from start to finish to advance in the semis.
Cliff Hodge, the player of the match, scored 14 points and grabbed six boards in 35 minutes for the Bolts, while Baser Amer also collected 14 while adding seven rebounds and three assists to his line. Veteran Reynel Hugnatan tallied 12 and eight boards, while Allein Maliksi came up huge off the bench with 11.
Defense dictated Meralco’s play on both ends of the floor in the winner-take-all duel.
A familiar foe for the Bolts, the upper-rank Gin Kings will try to halt Meralco’s attempt to enter the PBA finals.
In their quarterfinals match against the eighth-ranked Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the duo of Stanley Pringle and Japeth Aguilar delivered the goods and scored points in crucial parts of each quarter that resulted in an 81-73 decision in favor of the Tim Cone coached-team.
Japeth Aguilar finished with a double-double of 23 points, and 11 rebounds, Prince Caperal, Aljon Mariano, and Scottie Thompson contributed in a big way, as did LA Tenorio on his way to a special niche in the record books. Stanley Pringle provided the crucial spark in the endgame that enabled top-seeded Ginebra to avoid a rubber match with its eighth-seeded opponent.
“I’ve said it before, he’s our closer,” said Cone of Pringle, who finished with 10 points, five assists, and two rebounds.
“We put the ball in his hands down the stretch, and we expect him to close it for us. We’re not going to force, do that every possession because it gets too exhausting and the defense gets too predictable. But down the stretch, we’re gonna figure out a way to try and get him free and allow him to do his thing. That’s what he did,” added Cone.
Considering that both team’s stats were pretty much even, offense and defense-wise, this is anybody’s ball game now.