PBA: Ginebra eliminates NLEX, sets Manila Clasico semis clash

MANILA, Philippines – Fans clamored for a Manila Clasico match-up, so Ginebra and Magnolia give what they want as the Gins and Hotshots dismantled NLEX and Blackwater respectively for a semis showdown in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup on Tuesday, November 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Japeth Aguilar erupted for 18 points and led Barangay Ginebra to the semis
Japeth Aguilar erupted for 18 points and led Barangay Ginebra to the semis against Magnolia Hotshots | Photo Credit: pba.ph

Going against and beating the top-seeded Barangay Ginebra with superhuman Justin Brownlee on its core is a real moonshot for the 8th-seeded NLEX Road Warriors.

Aside from the Kings’ prolific import, the crowd-favorite team has the precious twice-to-beat advantage which became a more dangerous mountain to climb for Coach Yeng Guiao and his squad.

In the beginning, NLEX felt comfortable offensively as Philip Paniamogan found his rhythm too early and established a fair advantage over Ginebra. But it didn’t take that long as Japeth Aguilar heated up and switched the momentum to his team’s side.

Aguilar’s 8-point performance in the opening quarter gave Barangay Ginebra a 26-20 lead after the first 12 minutes of the game.

The Warriors felt the wrath of the Kings in the 2nd quarter as bombers Sol Mercado and Jeff Chan made it rain from the outside to escalate their margin to 18.

Even though Justin Brownlee spent most of his time on the bench and didn’t do much damage on NLEX, Ginebra still dominated the Road Warriors 50-36 at the half.

Earlier today, Magnolia Hotshots secured the first semis spot after trouncing Blackwater Elite behind Romeo Travis’ near 20-20 monster numbers (18 points and 20 rebounds).

Coach Yeng Guiao has also announced the 20-Man pool for the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers 5th window prior to the Ginebra - NLEX semis series.

Sans naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche, here are the players who will fight for the final 12-man roster before the Kazakhstan and Iran - November 30 and December 3 home games:

LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Alex Cabagnot, Paul Lee, Jason Castro, Stanley Pringle, Matthew Wright, Marcio Lassiter, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Arwind Santos, Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger, Ian Sangalang, Beau Belga, JP Erram and 2 Gilas Cadets: Ricci Rivero and Kai Sotto.

After the halftime powwow, the Road Warriors stepped on the floor in a more composed manner as they cut the lead to just 6 in less than 2 minutes. Philip Paniamogan and JR Quinahan became instrumental in downsizing Ginebra’s margin.

Barangay’s lead had even gone down to 4 points. Fearing to get upset by the lowest-seeded team in the quarters, Justin Brownlee stepped up and brought the advantage back to a double-digit.

A couple of slam dunks from Brownlee and Aguilar ended the 3rd quarter with a 76-62 Ginebra lead and left NLEX with just a quarter to recover or end its season.

The Gins welcomed the Road Warriors with a 13-0 run as they unfolded the final chapter and bannered a 24-point humongous lead.

Ginebra reached the century mark with over 3 minutes left in the game clock. Greg Slaughter had a terrific night too with 16 digits under his name while his twin tower, Japeth Aguilar had 18.

The fans knew it was all over when Coach Tim Cone pulled out his star players and brought his reserves in to finish the game.

111-75 is the final score as Barangay Ginebra officially eliminated NLEX Road Warriors and arranged a semis duel against sister-team Magnolia Hotshots.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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