PBA: Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beermen now semis bound

MANILA, Philippines - Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beermen, the top two teams in the league didn’t waste their twice-to-beat advantages as both squads sent Globalport Batang Pier and Phoenix Fuel Masters, their respective rivals home and secured the first 2 semifinals spots on June 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

import Justin Brownlee stood tall among all players with 39 points
Size doesn’t matter. Undersized import Justin Brownlee stood tall among all players with 39 points and carried Barangay Ginebra to semifinals. Photo courtesy of pba.ph
Top-seeded Barangay Ginebra didn’t take Globalport Batang Pier lightly as the latter showed its dangerous side after beating the resilient Alaska Aces to take the last playoff spot last Sunday. In line with this, Coach Tim Cone designed a run and gun play book to match the quickness and intensity of Globalport’s combo-guards Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle. The Gins obliged to their coach and blitzed right at the beginning to place themselves ahead of the underdogs.

The ever reliable Justin Brownlee who gave Ginebra its first title after 8 years, did a major damage to Globalport early in the opening quarter. Brownlee momentarily sat on the bench after exploding with 13 points with 3 more periods to go. Barangay led Batang Pier by 7 points, 26-19 after the first 12 minutes of the ballgame.

Nothing was going right for Glopalport. Few moments after the start of the second quarter, Batang Pier had already committed 3 turnovers. Nevertheless, Barangay Ginebra got stuck at 26 points since they closed the first period which really bothered Coach Cone and asked for a much needed timeout. Veteran Mark Caguioa broke the ice as he entered the floor and made a tear drop at the 7:28 mark.

Justin Harper, despite of a fair first half performance, struggled to find his post-up tempo as he successively committed 2 offensive fouls and settled for jump shots and second chance opportunities. Likewise, Terrence Romeo kept firing blanks from all angles in contrast to his outstanding performance against the Aces in their knockout game.

Justin Brownlee and his wingman Japeth Aguilar who both had double digits with 18 and 10 markers respectively ramped-up their lead since they started the second, 46-33 and headed to the dugout for the halftime break.

The San Miguel Beermen who also had a twice-to-beat advantage over Phoenix Fuel Masters have already made their way to the semis after stopping Coach Ariel Vanguardia and his wards. 6 SMB players were in double figures led by Marcio Lassiter who had 25 points who also fired 5 out of 10 or 50% 3pt-FGs. San Miguel now awaits the winner of Star - Rain Or Shine series where the Hotshots lead the Elasto Painters 1-0.

Marcio Lassiter led his team to the semis
Marcio Lassiter led his team to the semis after extinguishing the Phoenix Fuel Masters with 25 points. Photo courtesy of pba.ph
Terrence Romeo after resting during the halftime, regained his composure and started the second half strong with a back-to-back triples. However, Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar sustained their scoring momentum and were able to maintain Ginebra’s double-digit advantage, 56-42 with over 7 minutes remaining in the third.

Globalport exerted an 8-0 run to bring the lead down to solo-digit, 56-50 courtesy of Justin Harper and Terrence Romeo who both made baskets from downtown. Coach Cone had no other choice but to call a cease fire and ice the waxing hot hands of Batang Pier.

Right at the moment that Globalport was making a decent run, Justin Brownlee came out of nowhere to bring their big lead back. The undersized import already posted 28 points with 17 more minutes remaining in the entire game.

Brownlee started the 3-point party with 6 out of 9 in the third alone. Scottie Thompson, Joe Devance and Kevin Ferrer joined the festivity that resulted to a humongous lead now with 23. Dylan Ababou, the former Ginebra gunner closed the third quarter with his own trey. But the Gins were still up big time, 76-56.

More than 4 minutes had gone by after the final quarter had started and no one had scored yet until Dave Marcelo sank his free throws and Stanley Pringle immediately fired back with a short jumper.

Regardless how big their lead was, Coach Tim Cone knew how lethal Globalport could be and pretty much aware of its ability to do a comeback, the serious-looking Ginebra mentor didn’t even ponder to pull out his starters and let his backup unit play until the final buzzer to prevent an upset.

A scary moment happened at 5:41 mark of the final quarter as Japeth Aguilar went scrambling to floor after an inadvertent hit from Sean Anthony off the rebound. Aguilar held his left shoulder and looked in pain. But few seconds after the whistle, Aguilar stood up and shook his shoulder off. He signaled to the Ginebra fans that he was fine by dunking the ball hard to the basket.

With 3:28 left in the game, Terrence Romeo was called for Flagrant Foul 2 after swinging his closed-fist hand towards LA Tenorio during a rebound battle. Romeo was automatically ejected while Coach Tim Cone and Coach Franz Pumaren were also sanctioned with technical fouls for entering the court.

Globalport Batang Pier valiantly fought from the start until the end but Ginebra, being the top-seeded team in the league was simply too strong to beat. Not even Terrence Romeo’s 22 and Justin Harper’s 29 markers can match the Kings’ hot hands. Globalport made the final bow in Commissioner’s Cup after a gallant 96-85 loss.

Ginebra now awaits the winner of TNT - Meralco series in the semifinals.

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

Previous Post Next Post