DEFENDING champion San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel begin their best-of-five semifinal showdown of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen and the Kings clash at 7 in the evening as both teams came off the easy routes after beating their respective quarterfinal foes.
San Miguel tripped NLEX, 114-110, while Ginebra survived the mighty comeback of Alaska and held on for a 109-104 win, thanks to the clutch three-pointer of import Justin Brownlee late in the game.
Kings Head Coach Tim Cone admitted that they are up against a formidable opponent, led by reigning Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.
“We know how good San Miguel is and how tough they’ll be. We just have to see if we can make them uncomfortable and drive them out of their comfort zones,” Cone said.
“They have a lot of weapons to account for, so we’ll have our hands full. Still, we have a couple of games to figure them out,” he added.
LA Tenorio erupted for a playoff career-high 32 points against the Aces and his leadership will be needed again versus the Beermen, who are starting to play one cohesive unit with Elijah Millsap as their import.
Millsap exploded for 39 points against the Road Warriors, his best game so far since replacing Michael Singletary.
San Miguel has won its last five playoff series against Ginebra and the last time the Kings beat the Beermen in the playoff series was in the 2007 Philippine Cup finals.
This is Ginebra’s first Final Four appearance in the last two-and-a-half years and it will be tested by the perennial semifinalist San Miguel, which is in its fourth straight Final Four stint and fifth in the last six conferences under Head Coach Leo Austria.
Image credits: PBA Image