By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE first team to book a spot in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings welcome the extra time to rest and prepare before plunging back into action.
Looking to win its first Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Filipino crown since the 2006-07 season, Barangay Ginebra moved closer to that push being realized after making short work of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their quarterfinal pairing on Friday.
Held a twice-to-beat advantage over the Elasto Painters after winding up as the top seeds at the end of the elimination round, the Kings eliminated their opponents at the first instance, 81-73.
Japeth Aguilar led the way for Barangay Ginebra in the win, finishing with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Aljon Mariano and Prince Caperal had 11 points each for the Kings while Stanley Pringle had 10 markers.
As of this writing, Barangay Ginebra was awaiting who its opponent would be between the defending champions San Miguel Beermen and Meralco Bolts in the best-of-five semifinal series beginning on Nov. 18.
San Miguel and Meralco were to play in a rubber match of their quarterfinal joust later on Sunday.
“We welcome this (extra time) especially in this bubble situation where the games come very fast. Having extra days for rest is a big bonus before heading into a five-game series,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone after their win over Rain or Shine.
The Kings coach went on to say that regardless of who they would face in the semifinals, either way it would be tough for them.
“San Miguel has been having some injuries to its players. But guys are stepping up and doing a great job so far. They are still capable,” he said of the four-seeded Beermen, who are playing without June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo in the tournament because of injury.
“As for Meralco you know our history with them. We know them and they know us.”
TEAMS EXIT BUBBLE
Meanwhile, eliminated teams in the PBA bubble in Clark City have exited.
The Terrafirma Dyip, NLEX Road Warriors, Northport Batang Pier, and Blackwater Elite were the first to go home following the conclusion of the elimination round early last week.
Rain or Shine and the Alaska Aces made their way out on Sunday morning while the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok were to follow suit in the afternoon.
Alaska and Magnolia were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the TNT Tropang Giga and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, respectively, on Saturday.
The PBA bubble tournament in Clark City is heading into the homestretch after the league restarted its coronavirus pandemic-hit season on Oct. 11.
Games are being played at the Angeles University Foundation gym with the Quest Plus Hotel inside Mimosa serving as the official home of all the participants.
To guard against the spread of the coronavirus, the league has regular swab testing of all participants and protocols that everybody must follow.