The Philippine Cup finals is here. Get hyped, folks! It’s yet another round of intense basketball as both teams are full of momentum after clawing their way into the finals.
Catch the game live on Sunday, November 29, at 6:00 PM.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings (0-0)
Ginebra had an up-and-down semifinals series against the Meralco Bolts, and it went the full distance. After a couple of close calls, though, they did enough to once again prove their superiority. Scottie Thompson’s clutch gene was on full display too.
Although confidence is definitely on a high, it’s hard to gauge if it’ll help rhythm-wise given that the semis was gruelling. Don’t be shocked to see a slow start.
The key thing to look at now, and be encouraged about, is the matchup last November 6th. Ginebra took home the win, 85-79, with Stanley Pringle (28 pts, 12 rebs) and Japeth Aguilar (19 pts, 11 rebs) each posting double-doubles, and LA Tenorio doing a fine job distributing the ball (15 pts, 9 ast).
We should see another fine set of production from the three, along with Thompson, who’ll provide energy on both ends of the floor.
Ginebra has held six of their last seven opponents to under 85 points.
Talk N’ Text Tropang Giga (0-0)
TNT went the full distance during the semis as well as they faced the talented and upstart Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters. The do-or-die showdown wasn’t as cardiac, but they had to climb out of a 2-1 series deficit before advancing.
Similar to Ginebra’s case, it’s probably best we don’t expect fireworks right from the tip. There are some tired legs on the roster, so bricks and errors could possibly be seen in the early stages.
Having said that though, leading scorer Ray Parks is a likely exception. He’s been one of the best players in the conference, and he showcased it well in the semis, averaging 23.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. It included a 36 and 41-point performance.
Parks’ scoring uptick has also helped cancel out the struggles of his usual scoring partner, Roger Pogoy, who only put up 11 PPG on an appalling 30.3% shooting in the semis. Pogoy’s return to form is still a question mark as he’ll be facing Ginebra’s stingy defense next.
Hopefully, the other key men – Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and Poy Erram – can also continue filling the void. They all had solid games in the semis too.
Pringle’s scoring and explosiveness will be a good counter to what Parks will bring to the table, while Thompson’s defense will extend Pogoy’s slump.
I expect Ginebra to draw the first blood, but I don’t expect TNT to go down easily. The Gin Kings take this, 93-89.