The first Manila Clasico matchup in the PBA bubble is all set for this Sunday, as the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel look to extend their win streak at the expense of their rivals, the slumping Magnolia Hotshots. Will Ginebra get to 5-0? Or, will the Hotshots prevent a four-game losing streak?
Catch this game live on October 25 at 6:45 pm, Manila time.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (4-0)
The Barangay are on a roll. The group-selfie-taking crew took down the Phoenix Fuel Masters last Wednesday for their fourth win in the PBA bubble against zero losses. Phoenix entered that game as among the highest-scoring teams in the league this conference, but the Barangay clearly had Matthew Wright and company locked down, limiting the Fuel Masters to only 37 FG%.
Stanley Pringle seems to be enjoying his time in the beautiful Angeles City, as he’s leading Ginebra with 16.25 points per game. He’s been sizzling from behind the arc, making 43% of his 3-point shots, including a 4-for-7 3FG line against Phoenix. His inside-outside attack plays so well with the increased playing time of Prince Caperal, who stretches the floor for the Barangay.
Caperal is second on the team with 14.5 points per game while knocking down a team-high 3.25 3-pointers per game on 65% accuracy. Magnolia big men Rafi Reavis and Ian Sangalang will have to step way out in the perimeter to defend Caperal at the expense of the Hotshots’ interior defense.
Ginebra is averaging 99.0 points per game.
The Magnolia Hotshots (1-4)
Magnolia is on a free-fall, as the Hotshots have dropped three games in row following a gut-wrenching 91-84 loss to Phoenix Friday night. The Hotshots built a lead as high as 17 and entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead, but couldn’t stop Phoenix’s barrage in the final period, where they were outscored 31-15.
After scoring 32 points in a 109-102 loss to the Meralco Bolts last Tuesday, Paul Lee regressed and put up just 10 points in the Phoenix game. Lee will always be depended upon on offense, but squandering leads in the fourth quarter in back-to-back games can also be pinned on the coaching. Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero’s seat isn’t hot right now, but another such loss would not bode well for his long-term job security.
Despite the losses, the backcourt trio of Lee, Mark Barroca, Chris Banchero is always a threat to overpower opponents with its speed and shooting. Lee leads Magnolia with 18.6 points per game, while Barroca and Banchero are averaging 13.2 and 12.8 points, respectively. Add Jio Jalalon into that mix and Magnolia has a four-guard rotation that can force numerous turnovers. In fact, Magnolia is No. 1 this conference with 9.2 steals per outing.
Magnolia will try to push the pace in this game, though, it’s going to be easier said than done, as the Hotshots are second-worst in the PBA in rebounding, making it hard for them to dictate the pace. Ginebra wins this battle, 98-93.