The Meralco Bolts have booked a seat in the PBA Governors' Cup Finals after steamrolling the hapless Star Hotshots. Last year's runners-up are just waiting for the victor of the other semifinal matchup between the defending champs Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the TNT KaTropa, which is tied at one game apiece.
Ginebra took Game 1 in convincing fashion, 121-94, while TNT returned the favor during their next match, 103-96. This particular series looks like it's going to go the distance, with how both coaches are running a devoted system (Tim Cone's hybrid triangle versus Nash Racela's dribble drive motion).
The following players—if they address their shortcomings in time—will spell the difference in the series and determine its outcome with their game-changing performances.
So far in the series: 10.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 0 BLK
The stretch four should take advantage of his athleticism and versatility while up against an imposing frontline. The KaTropa will win if Rosario outplays the Ginebra bigs, and puts up double-doubles in points and rebounds.
So far in the series: 13 PPG, 36% FG, 2-12 3P
He can't keep firing blanks—0-6 from three-point line last game—as his team's primary shooting guard. The KaTropa will win if Pogoy starts making his shots, especially from deep, and committing on defense.
Glen Rice, Jr.
So far in the series: 23.5 PPG, 28 MPG, 9 TO
A strong finish doesn't excuse Rice from not playing the whole game; good thing the locals managed when he was on the bench due to foul trouble. The KaTropa will win if he takes care of the ball and is on the court for 40 minutes.
So far in the series: 12 PPG, 7 RPG, 18 FGA
After eliminating June Mar Fajardo's SMB, Gregzilla is the biggest guy in the tournament—all the more reason he should dominate the competition. The Barangay will win if Slaughter asserts himself in the paint and doubles those numbers.
So far in the series: 11.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG
As one of the Triangle's vital cogs, the point forward needs to be more active and consistent (only four points last game) on the offensive end. The Barangay will win if Devance scores at least 10 and has five assists.
So far in the series: 23 PPG, 9 RPG, 4 APG
Brownlee is actually playing great, shooting a high percentage (56.5), and filling his squad's holes on both ends of the floor (2 SPG, 1.5 BPG). The Barangay will win if he just does his thing and continues to make his teammates better.