Sep 28, 2021

TNT takes first of two cracks at semis versus Ginebra

ONLY one between the elims' topnotcher and the titleholder will survive after the quarterfinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.

The Barangay Ginebra Kings, catching the last quarters ticket on a knockout game triumph over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, pursue their title defense in another do-or-die game Wednesday against top seed TNT Tropang Giga.

It's a rematch of their championship showdown in the Clark bubble last year. But in a reversal of roles, TNT is now the favored side with its twice-to-beat advantage against an injury-hit Ginebra squad.

Coach Chot Reyes and his troops automatically clinch a semis berth if they win the 6 p.m. setto at the DHVSU Gym. The back-to-the-wall Gin Kings, meanwhile, need to win two in a row to advance to the Final Four against the winner of the San Miguel Beer-NorthPort matchup.

The Tropang Giga, who topped the elims with a 10-1 win-loss card, are determined to get going, with coach Chot Reyes saying their "win-once" bonus would mean nothing if they fail to accomplish their task against the Kings.

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The Kings, meanwhile, are bent on making the most of their opportunities - even with their crippled lineup.

"As of today (Tuesday), Scottie (Thompson) is still out and doubtful for the TNT game. We will remain shorthanded it seems, but the guys are in good spirits and ready to play," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

"Our focus now is just preparing. We can't worry about who's not playing for us, we just roll with who we do have and move on," he added.

Also minus Japeth Aguilar, the Gin Kings plunged to 4-7 finish in the elims, and needed a help from NorthPort's crucial win over Alaska Milk to get a playoff crack at the last quarters slot.

Pouncing on the opening, Ginebra walloped Phoenix, 95-85, in their KO setto. And the Kings are now raring to get going and do the best they can against the Tropang Giga.
But needless to say, the Kings are the underdogs against the Tropang Giga.
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Boosted by the addition of Mikey Williams and the return of Kelly Williams, the Tropang Giga. are now the team to beat.

TNT crushed Ginebra, 88-67, in their elims tiff. (SB)