Ginebra nears another PBA finals ticket after going up 2-0 against SMB in semis clash

Christian Standhardinger continued his dominance and helped Ginebra take a 2-0 lead over SMB (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel moved on the cusp of another grand final appearance after crushing the San Miguel Beermen, 121-103, in Game 2 of the ongoing PBA Governor’s Cup last March 26, 2023, held at the Ynares Center.

It was a wire-to-wire victory for the well-oiled Ginebra squad after immediately taking control of the game in the first five minutes of action when they jumped ahead by 15 points, 16-1.

All hell broke loose after all Ginebra starters waxed hot from the shooting field, carrying their momentum from their Game 1 blowout several days ago.

Versatile big man star Christian Standhardinger continued his solid play against the Beermen and ended the night with a huge 32-point performance.

With San Miguel’s superstar center June Mar Fajardo still out due to a torn MCL injury in his knee, Ginebra went to Standhardinger for most of their offensive sets and paid off the trust the management gave to him.

Despite a huge first half from veteran point guard Chris Ross who unloaded three early three-pointers at the end of the first quarter to get the Beermen out of the double-digit hole, the Gin Kings were able to counter his attack through the services of super resident import Justin Brownlee who produced the same amount of points as Standhardinger.

Last season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Scottie Thompson stabilized Ginebra’s attack with another triple-double performance of 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

“I’m totally shocked by this game in terms of how our guys played in a Game 2 like that. Really shocked and obviously really pleased,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.

Through the four quarters, San Miguel never retook the lead and showed some signs of a clear come-from-behind win. Although they trimmed their deficit to eight points in the last four minutes of the third, Ginebra came storming back and extended their cushion back to 18 points heading into the final canto.

San Miguel will look to avoid a sweeping loss when they meet again at the hardwood on March 29, 2023, in the first game of the import-laced doubleheader semifinal schedule.

On the other hand, the Meralco Bolts lived another day after equalizing the series at 1-game apiece when they edged the TNT Tropang Giga, 124-117, in Game 2 of their semifinal clash.