The all-SMC, all-MVP PBA semifinals series: a breakdown of match-ups
The semifinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup will feature a pair of matchups pitting teams under the same umbrella that assured another corporate showdown between San Miguel Corporation and MVP Group for the championship.
There’s intrigue as to how things eventually turn out between Barangay Ginebra, defending two-time winner of the season-ending conference, and this season’s Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer on one end and top seed TNT opposite Meralco on the other side of the fence.
LAST SAN MIGUEL AND GINEBRA SEMIS MEETING
San Miguel emerged victorious over Ginebra during the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup, needing just five games to take the best-of-seven affair.
The two teams squared off in the semis of the 2016 Governors’ Cup, with Ginebra having to go through the full five games to beat San Miguel and eventually defeat Meralco for the title.
Ginebra also defeated San Miguel in the 2019 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals in the last playoff encounter of both squads.
LAST TNT AND MERALCO SEMIS MEETING
Meralco defeated TNT in the deciding fifth game of their semis series to reach the Finals of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup. The Bolts went on to lose to the Gin Kings for the championship with a 4-1 decision.
SAN MIGUEL AND GINEBRA’S ROAD TO THE SEMIS
San Miguel finished second in the eliminations at 9-2 before taking down seventh seed Converge in the quarterfinals.
Ginebra was third entering the playoffs after blowing a chance to top the eliminations with a loss to TNT. The Gin Kings routed the NLEX Road Warriors, ranked sixth, in the quarters to set up an all-SMC semis.
TNT AND MERALCO ROAD TO THE SEMIS
TNT won 10 of 11 games in the eliminations to claim the best record in the league, then made short work of Phoenix in the quarters.
Meralco placed fourth and got the twice-to-beat advantage after edging Magnolia and NLEX, which had similar 7-4 records, on point differential. An overtime win over No. 5 Magnolia enabled Meralco to progress.
KEY TO BEST PLAYER OF THE CONFERENCE AWARD WIN
Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger and San Miguel’s CJ Perez are 1-2 in the BPC race at the end of the elims, and the series could determine which of the two will end with one of the most coveted awards in the league.
Standhardinger topped the BPC derby with 42.8 Statistical Points as he exceptionally filled up the void left by the injured Japeth Aguilar while Perez is second with 39.3 behind his all-around performances that were usually quiet but effective for San Miguel.
It’s likely that the team that wins the series will factor in the decision of those eligible to vote, namely the media and players.
A BATTLE OF CONTRASTING STYLES
Offense against defense is the theme of the all-MVP duel as TNT topped the league in scoring entering the semis with 118.5 points. The Tropang Giga reached the century mark in 11 of 12 games this conference.
Meralco, on the other hand, allows the fewest points in the conference with a 100.4 average. It allowed 100 points in five of 12 games this conference.
GOVERNORS’ CUP ELIMINATION ROUND MEETINGS
The Beermen took a 102-99 win last Feb. 17 behind 35 points and 10 rebounds from import Cameron Clark, plus contributions from Perez, Vic Manuel and June Mar Fajardo, who is out for the series with an MCL injury.
TNT beat Meralco, 111-104, also on Feb. 17 in the prelims with import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson posting 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and Mikey Williams adding 25 points.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE ALL-SMC, ALL-MVP SEMIS?
The two semis secured a seventh PBA Finals meeting between San Miguel Corporation and MVP Group in the last eight conferences.
SMC and MVP teams met for six straight conferences since 2019 before the streak was broken in this season’s Commissioner’s Cup when Ginebra defeated guest team Bay Area in the Finals.
San Miguel Beer beat TNT in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup and 2022 Philippine Cup while Ginebra downed Meralco in the 2019 and 2022 Governors’ Cup and TNT in the 2020 Philippine Cup.
TNT provided the lone win for the MVP conglomerate in the 2021 Philippine Cup by defeating Magnolia.
SCHEDULE OF PBA SEMIFINALS GAMES
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) March 22, 2023