The Barangay Ginebra need just one more win to clinch a berth in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, and they could do it by the end of Game 4.
The Meralco Bolts are surely going to put up a stand, though, as they look to extend their stay in the bubble for at least one more game.
Catch this game live on November 25 at 3:45 pm, Manila time.
The Meralco Bolts (1-2)
Meralco failed to grab the series lead in Game 3 as the Bolts lost to Ginebra last Sunday, 91-84.
After limiting Ginebra to only 36 percent shooting from the field in Game 2, Meralco saw the Barangay shoot a whole lot better at 49 percent in Game 3.
It didn’t help the Bolts that they were once again beaten on the glass, with Ginebra pulling down 48 rebounds to just 34 by the Bolts. Cliff Hodge and Raymond Almazan combined for 17 rebounds, but those were five fewer than what they had in Game 2.
Hodge and Almazan had 13 and 16 points, respectively, but most were scored during a long stretch of garbage time after Ginebra pulled away early and never looked back.
For Meralco, it’s about controlling the pace of the game and not allowing Ginebra to gain any momentum. Speaking of which, one Bolts player who’s gaining a lot of steam is Allein Maliksi, who’s scored 37 points with 10 3-pointers over the last two games.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (2-1)
Tim Cone knew he had to make an adjustment after Ginebra’s loss in Game 2, and that change came in the form of Joe Devance getting plugged into the starting unit and relegating LA Tenorio to the bench.
That moved gave Ginebra the heft to match up with Meralco’s combo of Almazan and Hodge without sacrificing floor spacing. Devance ended up with 10 points with a 3-pointer and five rebounds in 31 minutes.
Meanwhile, Stanley Pringle and Japeth Aguilar contributed 24 and 12 points, respectively. Aguilar, who’s been a steady presence in the middle for the Barangay, is content with cleaning the glass, making putbacks, and hitting open jumpers off of assists, which makes Ginebra so tough to defend since Meralco’s defense is mostly spent on tracking Pringle, Tenorio, and Scottie Thompson — all crafty playmakers.
It’s not just Devance who stepped up on the frontcourt for Ginebra, as Prince Caperal scored 15 points off the bench. Game 3 showed that the Barangay have the depth and resources to counter Meralco’s lineup tactics, which doesn’t sound good for the Bolts, heading into Game 4.
Tim Cone will continue to start Joe Devance after seeing that move pay dividends in the last game.
With Tenorio running the offense in the second unit, Ginebra makes another huge run before the end of the second quarter to establish clear command of the game until the finish. Ginebra wins Game 4, 96-88.