SMB, Ginebra face daunting task against top seeded rivals

San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra will have the daunting task of pulling the rug from under against the top seeds Bay Area and Magnolia, respectively, once the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals fire off on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Justin Brownlee and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings take on Nick Rakocevic and the Magnolia Hotshots in the Manila Clasico semifinals (PBA Images)

The Beermen take their shot at slaying the Dragons in the curtain-raiser of the best-of-five semifinals at 3 p.m. while the Kings rekindle their Manila Clasico rivalry with the Hotshots in the main event at 5:45 p.m.

Only needing a win to book the semis seat, both Bay Area and Magnolia are coming out well-rested after making quick work of their quarterfinal foes. The Dragons showed their full might and clobbered the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 126-96, while the Hotshots had to hold off the challenge of the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 102-95.

On the other hand, although they came out unscathed from their own quarterfinal pairings, SMB and Ginebra got a fitting buildup to the semis showdown with confidence-boosting wins against Converge and NorthPort respectively.

The Beermen looked like they were on their old, dominant form in the 120-107 series clincher while the Kings overcame the gallant Batang Pier stand to come out on top, 99-93.

SMB acting head coach Jorge Gallent liked what he saw during the quarterfinals series as they brace for the tough duel against Bay Area. The Beermen certainly have the artillery to go up against the Dragons especially with June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo back to their deadly forms.

It’s still unclear whether Bay Area will field Myles Powell back or it will stick with Andrew Nicholson but SMB is preparing for both occasions as well as the Dragons contributors in Hayden Blankley and Glen Yang.

In the second game, Ginebra coach Tim Cone is so familiar with Magnolia that he knew right off the bat that the Kings will have to step their game a notch higher in the semifinals.

Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson are expected to lead the way for the Kings’ title bid as they take on the Hotshots vaunted defense anchored on the three-headed backcourt of Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon with import Nick Rakocevic manning the paint.