Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Magnolia Pambansang Manok hope to gain closer towards a Manila Clasico title showdown as they gun for 2-0 leads Friday, March 25 in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ginebra looks to repeat over NLEX in the second game of their best-of-five series at 3 p.m. before Magnolia takes on Meralco for a chance to gain a stranglehold on their own semifinal affair in the other match set at 6 p.m.
Both teams had to come back from 16-point deficits in the first half of their semis-opening wins to mark the PBA’s return to the Pasay City venue for the first time in two years on a winning note.
The Gin Kings had to buck the loss of Japeth Aguilar to a calf injury and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 95-86 victory over the Road Warriors behind import Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson.
Aguilar’s status remains questionable for Game 2, but Ginebra still has another frontcourt asset in Christian Standhardinger.
Sophomore Arvin Tolentino and veteran sniper Jeff Chan may step up anew for coach Tim Cone.
Magnolia also rallied to beat Meralco, 94-80, as guard Jio Jalalon sparked the comeback with help from import Mike Harris.
Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva also did their share in the win that kept the Hotshots’ mastery over the Bolts dating back to their semifinal showdown in the Philippine Cup.
The two teams owned by Manny V. Pangilinan would like to even things up against their rival foes from San Miguel Corporation and turn the semis into a pair of best-of-threes.
NLEX got 30 points from import Cam Clark, but the rest of the team struggled with Kevin Alas being the only local in double figures with 17.
Meralco, on the other hand, hopes to see import Tony Bishop recover from being held to 10 points on 5-of-19 shooting.