Keys to Victory: Ginebra-TNT semis series
Expect a physical and heated duel as rivals top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and No. 4 TNT figure in a best-of-five semifinals that is loaded with firepower.
The Gin Kings beat the KaTropa, 107-89 in their only meeting in the elimination round on April 23.
But while it seemed like Ginebra had it easy against TNT after winning by 18, the Gin Kings actually trailed by six at the half and were leading by only six before pulling away in the fourth quarter.
The KaTropa also had a different import back then in Donte Greene, who has been replaced by the hefty Joshua Smith.
On the eve of Game 1, here are INQUIRER’s keys to victory.
Size vs Speed
Smith, who stands 6-foot-8 and weighs around 300 pounds, gives TNT a legitimate man in the middle that could pose problems for Ginebra.
But the Gin Kings will most likely counter the KaTropa’s size with their up-and-down game and floorspacers starting with Justin Brownlee.
Brownlee, who is second among imports in the statistical race for Best Import, is a handful for opposing teams due to his versatility.
In fact, he gave TNT fits with 34 points, 15 and six assists.
With guards like Scottie Thompson, Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio, Ginebra has been deadly in the open floor and their fast-paced game may force TNT to play small as well.
Tenorio vs Castro
Who wouldn’t like to see two of the league’s best guards go at it? Tenorio and Jayson Castro have had countless battles before and with the two facing off again, expect these veterans to pick up where they left off.
Tenorio had 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from deep and six assists while Castro collected 20 points, five rebounds and five assists the last time they shared the court in April.
Another intriguing subplot is the matchup between Thompson and Roger Pogoy, who has been a solid contributor for TNT in just his first year in the league.
While Thompson is known for his all-around game, Pogoy is making a name for himself as a big time shotmaker who savors pressure-packed situations.
Pogoy could be TNT’s X-factor in this series with Ginebra’s defense focused on limiting Castro and containing Smith inside.
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