A semifinal matchup featuring the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots? It’s probably the best gift the PBA could give to its fans. Which team takes Game of the series?

Catch this game live on Wednesday,  December 16 at 5:45 pm, Manila time.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Scottie Thompson
  • SG: Stanley Pringle
  • SF: Jamie Malonzo
  • PF: Justin Brownlee
  • C: Japeth Aguilar

Ginebra made quick work of the NorthPort Batang Pier in the quarterfinals, sweeping Robert Bolick and company in two games. Justin Brownlee was no Mr. Nice Guy on the floor for the Barangay as he amassed 59 points in that series, including a 39-point bombshell in Game 1. Magnolia certainly offers a stouter defense than Batang Pier, but it should be remembered that Brownlee dropped 26 points on the Hotshots in a 103-97 win against their rival back in October. 

As a team, Ginebra shot 56.3 FG% against the Hotshots, with four locals scoring at least 13 points to provide enough support for Brownlee. The Barangay’s size and athleticism in the backcourt and on the wings could provide trouble for Magnolia, whose import can’t be matched up against Brownlee. At the same time, Ginebra has big bodies to throw at Nick Rakocevic.

Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Paul Lee
  • SG: Mark Barroca
  • SF: Calvin Abueva
  • PF: Ian Sangalang
  • C: Nick Rakocevic

Magnolia took full advantage of its twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals by sending the Phoenix Fuel Masters home in a 102-95 win. The Hotshots have now won three games in a row, during which they have allowed an average of just 93.7 points. Ginebra is a completely different animal than the teams the Hotshots have faced in their current undefeated run, but it shouldn’t also be forgotten that it was not long ago when Magnolia limited the Bay Area Dragons to only 95 points, albeit in a loss. 

Rakocevic leads the Hotshots with 24.1 points per game and 18.2 rebounds per outing. He had a 22-17 performance in the loss to Ginebra, but it showed he can dominate the glass against the towering Barangay frontcourt. Paul Lee paced Magnolia in that game with 22 points on the strength of six 3-pointers. He’s been in fine form of late, having averaged 17.4 points in the last five Magnolia games. 


Spread: Magnolia (-1.5) covers the spread.

Over/Under: The total (192.0) hits the Under.