Mar 18, 2023

Gin Kings eye quick road to semis versus Road Warriors

BARAMGAY Ginebra and NLEX both came up short of their bids in the elims, but are determined to make the most of what they can do or what can they achieve moving forward.

The Gin Kings missed the top seeding while the Road Warriors bungled a shot at the Top Four.

With losses in their final outings in the elims, the Kings and the Road Warriors are now on a collision course, mixing it up in one of the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinal pairings Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

As the third seed, Ginebra has a shot at a quick passage to the Final Four while NLEX needs to win two in a row to defy the seeding and take the backdoor to the semis.

It's a rematch of their semifinal clash in the last Governors Cup won by the Kings before proceeding to a conquest of old rival Meralco in the finale.

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As the titleholder, Ginebra is the odds-on pick versus NLEX, but coach Tim Cone has his concerns, including their depleted lineup minus Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio.

But the Kings are confident they can compete.

"I think we just got to focus more down the stretch. We're a veteran team, so I think we should have been smarter," said Gin Kings import Justin Brownlee, ruing their endgame downfall against TNT Friday.

"The biggest thing there was turnovers. We got more rebounds. We shot a good percentage. We shared the ball pretty well - we're close to about 30 assists. Overall, I think we did a great job. But that last portion of the fourth quarter, that really hurt us," added Brownlee.

Behind a big closing run, the Tropang Giga smothered the Kings, 114-105, and claimed the quarters top spot versus No. 8 Phoenix Super LPG.

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Two nights earlier, NLEX went down to a 120-106 loss to San Miguel Beer that relegated the Road Warriors from No. 4 down to No. 6.

Thus, coach Frankie Lim and his troops must win Sunday's 6:45 p.m. tussle with the Kings to send their matchup to a decider.

But Wayne Selden Jr. and his NLEX teammates definitely have a job cut out for them versus Brownlee and the rest of the battle-tested Ginebra crew.

Guys like Kevin Alas, Don Trollano and Brandon Rosser have to step up for NLEX to have a fighting chance.(SB)