Ginebra favored

November 05, 2018

Games today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

4:30 p.m. -- Blackwater vs. Magnolia

7 p.m. -- Ginebra vs . NLEX

JUSTIN Brownlee and his Barangay Ginebra Kings have seen it all in their past two PBA Governors' Cup championship runs in 2016 and 2017.

Twice they had to overcome the Meralco Bolts and two-time Best Import winner Allen Durham in the finals, winning 4-2 in 2016 and 4-3 in 2017.

In 2016,  Brownlee nailed the championship-clinching three-point shot that secured Ginebra’s 91-88 win over Meralco and the franchise’s first title since 2008.

And last year,  Brownlee and LA Tenorio teamed up to lead Ginebra to its second straight title with a 101-96 win over Meralco in Game 7 before a record attendance at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

So it’s no longer a  surprise  that Brownlee is bracing for a tough challenge against No. 8 seed NLEX  in the quarterfinals tonight  and either No. 4  Magnolia  or No. 5 Blackwater in the semis.

Ginebra enjoys twice-to-beat advantage over NLEX

“I’m  sure it’s gonna be tough, even tougher than the previous  two  (championship runs in the Governors' Cup),” said Brownlee after Ginebra slammed.the door on Talk N Text, 122-93, last Sunday and finished with a league-best 9-2 win-loss record at the end of the elimnations.

Although  already   assured of the top seed following Phoenix's 97-81 win over  Blackwater earlier in the day,   Ginebra still went all out to beat Talk N Text with Brownlee  delivering a  triple double of 31 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.

Greg Slaughter also had big numbers against the Tropang Texters in his second game back since returning from injury and should provide a big lift for Ginebra.

“It  was nice to have that game to prepare for the playoffs.It's just good that I can be aggressive inside and draw a  lot of fouls,” said the 7-0  Slaughter, who scored 25 points against the Texters.

For  Ginebra coach Tim Cone, the real work  also  begins with the start of the playoffs.

“The real hard work starts now. There’s no easy way in the playoffs.  It’s always a tough route   whoever  you  play against,” said Cone.

But NLEX will enter the court with a  5-6 win-loss that included a shock 101-107 loss to import-less Rain or Shine.last Nov. 3.

In  the 4:30 p.m. curtainraiser,  Magnolia also guns for an outright semis seat when it meets Blackwater.

Like the Gin Kings, the Hotshots  enjoy twice-to-beat advantage against  the Elite to make the next round.

Actually, the Hotshots finished in a tie with Phoenix and Alaska Milk  with an 8-3 slate, but secured No.  4 seed  after the tie-break.

The Hotshots  are  also favored to beat the Elite, judging from their  133-99  win last Oct. 10.

Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, however, downplayed their lopsided victory.

“Nakaraan na iyung game na iyon,” said Victolero. :What we need to focus on is tomorrow’s game dahil there’s nothing more dangerous than a desperate team.”

The other quarterfinals matchups  will pit No. 2 Phoenix against No. 7 Meralco, and No. 3 Alaska against  No. 6 San Miguel Beer.

These four teams take the floor on Wednesday  at the Cuneta Astrodome.