The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Meralco Bolts kick off their best-of-7 semifinals series this Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Will the Barangay draw first blood? Or, will the Bolts extend their win streak and take the early series lead against crowd-favorite Ginebra?

Catch this game live on Friday,  May 17 at 7:30 pm, Manila time.

Meralco Bolts (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Christopher Banchero
  • Allein Maliksi
  • Chris Newsome
  • Clifford Hodge
  • Raymond Almazan

The Bolts are riding a wave of momentum into their semifinals clash versus a familiar postseason rival in the form of Ginebra.  Meralco finished the elimination portion of the conference with a three-game win streak which included wins against the Magnolia Hotshots and the San Miguel Beermen. In the quarterfinals, the Bolts swept the NLEX Road Warriors in two games. 

In other words, Meralco has run through what can be considered the gauntlet. They  were the only team to beat San Miguel in the elimination phase, a feat that sent a strong message across the league. Meralco has also victimized the Barangay already this season back in March, as the Bolts scored a 91-73 win over Tim Cone’s squad. Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome pummeled the Barangay with 25 and 19 points, respectively, while Meralco limited Ginebra to only 33.3 FG% and to only 3/21 shooting from deep.


Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Scottie Thompson
  • Maverick Ahanmisi
  • Louis Cu
  • Japeth Aguilar
  • Christian Standhardinger

After seeing their four-game win streak to end the elimination get snapped in a 76-72 loss to the Road Warriors, Ginebra rebounded by torching Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots in the quarterfinals, 99-77. Christian Standhardinger had a mammoth performance in that Manila Clasico affair, bullying Magnolia on his way to a 36-point, 11-rebound performance. He also added five assists and a steal. Standhardinger has been unstoppable of late. Over his last seven games, he has averaged 26.7 points. 

He’s going to be handful for Meralco’s defense that will also have to watch out for Ginebra’s excellent ball movement. The Barangay’s 73.5 percent assist rate is heads and shoulders above the rest of the league. (No other team has an AST% better than 66% outsidde of Ginebra.) It is also worth noting that the Barangay did not have Scottie Thompson active in the aformentioned loss to Meralco earlier this season due to injury, but he’s healthy now and ready to quarterback Ginebra’s attack that is averaging 107.2 points per 100 possessions — sixth in the PBA.


Spread: Ginebra (-5.5)

Over/Under: Under (177.5)