It’s win or go home for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel this Wednesday, as they go up against the TNT Tropang Giga, who own a twice-to-beat advantage in this quarterfinals matchup. Will TNT send the Barangay packing for an early vacation? Or, will Ginebra force a must-win scenario for both teams with a victory?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, March 16 at 6 pm, Manila time.
The TNT Tropang Giga (7-4)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kib Montalbo
- SG: RR Pogoy
- SF: Mikey Williams
- PF: Kelly Williams
- C: Aaron Fuller
The Tropang Giga have gotten hot in time for the playoffs. They closed out the regular season with five-straight wins. During the same span, they have defeated Ginebra to the tune of a 119-92 score back in February. Then in its most recent game, TNT humbled the NorthPort Batang Pier in a 106-101 victory at the Big Dome last Friday. Unlike most other PBA teams, the Tropang Giga have a local leading the team’s offense in the form of Mikey Williams. The super rookie is averaging 21.4 points per game.
He’s arguably the most unstoppable scorer among locals this conference, and the Barangay certainly have an idea about that. For one, Williams torched Ginebra in the aforementioned first meeting for 26 points on 10/19 shooting from the floor and 4/10 from deep. As a team, the Tropang Giga shot 56% with their bench thoroughly outscoring Ginebra’s relievers, 45-13. With Ginebra showing plenty of cracks on defense (103.8 points allowed per game) throughout the duration of the regular season, TNT must be able to exploit Barangay offensively.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (6-5)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: LA Tenorio
- SG: Scottie Thompson
- SF: Justin Brownlee
- PF: Christian Standhardinger
- C: Japeth Aguilar
At some point in this conference, it appeared that the Barangay were not going to make the playoffs, especially during a four-game losing skid. But Ginebra righted the ship and went 3-1 to end the regular season. The Barangay are headed to the quarterfinals following a 104-93 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Mar. 6, which means that they have over a week of rest before squaring off with TNT this Wednesday.
One big factor for the Barangay is Justin Brownlee, whose familiarity with the PBA playoffs atmosphere should come into play in this do-or-die contest.
Brownlee had 25 points on 8/16 shooting to go with nine rebounds and three assists in the February meeting with the Tropang Giga, while Christian Standhardinger started and chipped in 16 points. C-Stand usually comes off the bench, but the Barangay might opt to start him for this quarterfinals game to boost their chances of winning the rebound battle and scoring more higher-percentage shots in the paint, especially with TNT’s defense not looking up to snuff of late. The Tropang Giga have allowed at least 101 points in both of their last two games.
Spread: Chot Reyes isn’t going to let his team put up a subpar defensive performance three games in a row. The Tropang Giga are better on that end of the floor than what they’ve showed of late. Taking TNT to cover (-1.5).
Over/Under: This will be a tense matchup that could have both teams playing a little bit more deliberate. Taking the Under (198.0)