How about them Meralco Bolts? After forcing the series to be extended to the hill, they will be looking to complete the comeback with a win in Game 5.
But that’s going to be easier said than done against the favored Barangay Ginebra. Which between these teams will advance to the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals?
Catch this game live on November 27 at 6:30 pm, Manila time.
The Meralco Bolts (2-2)
Father Time was no match to Reynel Hugnatan in Game 3, as the 42-year-old forward led the Bolts with 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting, including the go-ahead jumper late in the contest to help give Meralco the 83-80 win.
Another big man also showed up in the clutch for the Bolts, as Raymond Almazan blocked Stanley Pringle’s layup that would have given Ginebra the lead with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
Hugnatan’s performance came out of nowhere, as he had never scored in double digits in any of the first three games of the series, though he had some sparkling offensive performances during the elimination round. What Meralco truly needs to continue is the ample production of the like of Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge, who both had 16 points in Game 4, respectively.
Perhaps overlooked in the Meralco win was the Bolts’ defense that repeatedly stunted Ginebra’s attack. Meralco had 13 steals and scored 34 points off Ginebra’s 23 turnovers, while the Barangay only had 11 points on eight giveaways by the Bolts.
With Meralco still losing the battle on the glass, the Bolts turned up the heat defensively by putting more pressure on Ginebra’s ball handlers and being active in playing the passing lanes, as evidenced by Newsome’s game-high six steals. Expect that kind of approach again on the defensive end by the Bolts in Game 5.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (2-2)
Ginebra needs to have a short memory after wasting a golden opportunity to seal the deal in Game 4, as the Barangay look to get the job done this Friday.
Ginebra lost Game 4 on the exact opposite way of how they expected to take care of business. Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, and LA Tenorio were erratic in that contest, combining for 12 turnovers. Starting Joe Devance again also didn’t click, as he laid an egg to go with a solitary rebound in 16 minutes on the floor.
With Meralco taking back the momentum, the Barangay have to start strong in Game 5. So far in this semifinals series, the team who won the first-quarter scoring have been undefeated.
Pringle led all Ginebra scorers in Game 4 with 18 points, while Jared Dillinger came off the bench and chipped in 15 markers. Despite their recent blunders, Pringle, Thompson, and Tenorio should be featured a lot again in a lot of offensive setups by Ginebra, which will be feeding off of those three’s playmaking.
Another big challenge for Ginebra is slowing down Newsome, who’s been a menace on both sides of the floor in this series.
Ginebra is taking its fans to a rough ride in this series, but the Barangay will deliver the goods in Game 5 by cutting down on their turnovers and dictating the pace of the contest. Ginebra wins Game 5, 86-79.