How about the Meralco Bolts? Norman Black’s team is on the cusp of moving a win away from copping the Governors’ Cup title. But of course, that’s going to be easier said than done against a never-say-die Barangay Ginebra San Miguel side.
Catch this game live on Sunday, April 10 at 6:30 pm, Manila time.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (1-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: LA Tenorio
- SG: Scottie Thompson
- SF: Justin Brownlee
- PF: Christian Standhardinger
- C: Japeth Aguilar (questionable)
Ginebra is quickly finding out that this isn’t the old Meralco squad the Barangay used to face in the Finals before, as Tim Cone and his men are now down 1-2 in the series after an 83-74 loss in Game 3. As usual, Justin Brownlee spearheaded Ginebra’s attack, but he had to bleed for his 19 points on 8/21 shooting. He was an atrocious 1/10 from deep and only got to the line five times.
As a team, Ginebra’s outside shooting was shut down by the Bolts, going just 4/32 from deep. The hope for Ginebra is that Japeth Aguilar will finally see action in Game 4 after missing the first three games of the series with a calf issue. Aguilar was in uniform last Sunday but was glued to the bench from start to finish. Ginebra’s got to take better care of the leather, as it’s been consistently shooting itself in the foot with turnovers, having committed a total of 36 miscues in Games 2 and 3.
The Meralco Bolts (2-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Aaron Black
- SG: Chris Newsome
- SF: Allein Maliksi
- PF: Tony Bishop
- C: Raymond Almazan
Meralco isn’t going to back down from the Barangay and the Bolts showed that by demolishing Ginebra with sound defense and rebounding. The Bolts made sure Ginebra felt the full effect of not having Aguilar arond, as they outrebounded the Barangay, 55-45. Meralco shot just 35% from the field but had 18 more attempts that resulted in a significant 19-8 disparity in second-chance points.
Import Tony Bishop outplayed Brownlee, scoring 30 points and notching 16 rebounds, while Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi both woke up from their Game 2 slumber to combine for 30 points. Newsome and Maliksi have become some sort of a barometer for the Bolts, who undeniably need those two to keep it up. And as mentioned earlier, Ginebra has been struggling with ball security in large part because of Meralco’s high-pressure defense that is allowing just 103.3 points per 100 possessions this season.
Spread: Ginebra bounced back after the loss in the series opener, but even if Aguilar plays, the Bolts (+3) will play the Barangay close enough for yet another cover.
Over/Under: Game 3 was a struggle offensively for both teams, but Ginebra recovers slightly from a horrible 3-point shooting, while the Bolts continue to get fantastic production from Bishop with enough support from the locals for an Over (184.5) hit.