It’s a familiar matchup in the finals of the 2022 PBA Governors’ Cup, as the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Meralco Bolts kick off a best-of-seven series this Wednesday. Who draws first blood?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, April 6 at 6 pm, Manila time.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (0-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: LA Tenorio
- SG: Scottie Thompson
- SF: Justin Brownlee
- PF: Christian Standhardinger
- C: Japeth Aguilar (questionable)
The Barangay are having a Cinderella run. They just seem to have found a new gear since the playoffs started, beginning with an upset victory in the quarterfinals where they erased a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the favored TNT Tropang Giga. Then they steamrolled the NLEX Road Warriors in the semifinals. The most obvious reason for Ginebra’s recent string of successes is the elevated play of import Justin Brownlee. Just when some people thought that he was going to run out of gas, he simply proved his critics wrong with one incredible performance after another.
After torching the Road Warriors for 47 points in Game 4 of the Ginebra-NLEX semis matchup, Brownlee has upped his 2022 PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs average to 33.3 points. But it’s not just Brownlee that’s propelling Ginebra. There’s also the team’s defense that has been suffocating opponents lately. The Barangay have not allowed more than 95 points in any of their last seven games, and that’s despite missing Japeth Aguilar in the past couple of games because of a calf injury. It’s worth noting that Aguilar is currently labeled day-to-day so his status should be checked before game time.
The Meralco Bolts (0-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Banchero (questionable)
- SG: Chris Newsome
- SF: Allein Maliksi
- PF: Tony Bishop
- C: Raymond Almazan
As impressive as Ginebra’s run is, Meralco’s playoff experience might even be better. The Bolts took care of business right away in the quarterfinals by eliminating the San Miguel Beermen in only one game. Then in the semis, the Bolts shocked the top-seeded Magnolia Hotshots in five games after trailing 0-1 in the series. Another thing about the Bolts as well is that they have been unbeaten in two meetings with Ginebra, dating back to 2021. In the elimination round, Meralco defeated the Barangay to the tune of a 101-85 score.
Tony Bishop Jr muscled his way through for 30 points to go with 13 rebounds and seven assists. Bishop can be a handful for Ginebra’s defense, particularly for Brownlee, who will have to spend more energy defensively in this series than in the previous playoff matchups for the Barangay. Meanwhile, Chris Banchero, who scored12 points in the first meeting with Ginebra, is also day-to-day with an upper-body issue. Aaron Black should draw another start if Banchero gets ultimately ruled out. Black came up big in the close-out game against Magnolia, scoring 16 points with five rebounds.
Spread: Brownlee is going to still be productive, but he will have to spend more energy defensively here which could lower the cap on Ginebra’s offense. Taking the Bolts to cover (+2.5).
Over/Under: It’s Game 1 of the Finals, so expecting a pretty deliberate pace for both teams. Taking the Under (193.5)