For the first time in history the Barangay Ginebra and Meralco will face each other in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup.
Yep, you read that right and no, this is not the Finals of the Governors’ Cup.
These two teams will indeed be facing each other in a playoff series outside of the Governors’ Cup conference.
No Justin Browlee, no Allan Durham. Just All-Filipino talent in a best-of- five series.
Let’s break down this match-up.
The Bolts are making a return to the playoffs of the Philippine Cup after securing the fifth seed in the standings. They haven’t done so since the 2014-15 season.
They faced a huge challenge right away as they will faced the defending champion San Miguel Beermen, who had a twice-to-beat advantage.
Undettered, Meralco pulled off an upset and eliminated the defending champs to book their first trip to the Semifinals of the PH Cup conference.
The Kings on the other hand, they took down the rising stars that is Rain or Shine.
As expected, Barangay Ginebra eliminated the scrappy Elasto Painters, avenging their loss to them in the elimination round.
This is the return of the Kings in the Semifinals after failing to reach the second round of the playoffs in last year’s PH Cup.
These two teams have been impressive all season long.
The Kings have been the top dog the whole tournament, only losing three games and even beating Meralco during the elimination round, 105-91.
The Bolts were very great too. As a team that usually does horribly every PH Cup, they surpassed expectations and almost secured a twice-to-beat advantage.
Meralco have been competitive with Chris Newsome and Baser Amer leading the way, backed up by young guns like Bong Quinto, Trevis Jackson and rookie Aaron Black. Veteran stars like Raymond Almazan and Allein Maliksi have contributed too.
As mentioned earlier, the Bolts took out the Beermen but against the Kings in the elimination round, they don’t look as overmatched as in the past.
That’s not a knock on the Kings, though. Guys like Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Art Dela Cruz are all capable of having big games.
These two teams have faced each other in the Finals of the Governors’ Cup, three out of the last four years and in all three, it was the Kings who got the win.
However, fans of the orange brand were saying that Brownlee was the reason behind those titles and Meralco was a better team overall.
Now, that debate could finally be silenced as for the first time, these two squads will meet in the semifinals with only Filipino talents on both squads.
Another storyline that we have to watch out for is the fact that this is the first time that the Bolts will have Almazan 100% in a series against the Kings.
Last conference, when the two squads met, Almazan suffered an injury in the Finals which allowed Aguilar to dominate and win Finals MVP.
Now with Almazan healthy and the rest of the Bolts squad 100%, it’ll be interesting to see how this series will play out.
And of course, there’s the battle between the best coaches in the league. Tim Cone and Norman Black will once again meet and I believe we’ll see the brilliance of the two shine in this star-studded series.
Who you got? Meralco or Barangay Ginebra? Sound off below on the comment section.