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SMB, Ginebra look to set up semis clash as PBA QF formally begins

Japeth Aguilar is expected to help Justin Brownlee lead Ginebra as he vies for Best Player of the Conference honors. (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--San Miguel and Ginebra will try to book the first two spots in the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals as they battle separate foes at the official start of the quarterfinal round on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The second-seeded Beermen take on the seventh-seeded NLEX Road Warriors in the first game at 4:15 p.m., while the third-seeded Barangay collide with the sixth-seeded Alaska Aces in the other quarterfinal action at 7 p.m.

Armed with twice-to-beat advantages which are equivalent to 1-0 leads in a best-of-three series, SMB and Ginebra only need to beat NLEX and Alaska respectively once to ensure their showdown in the next round, which could begin as early as Monday depending on how the quarterfinal pairings will end up.

Top-seeded TNT, also armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, take on wildcard entry Phoenix in the nightcap of the Saturday doubleheader at 5:15 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, following the 4-versus-5 series between Meralco and Mahindra, which technically started on Wednesday with the fourth-place playoff won by Meralco, at 3 p.m.

Recent history could favor the Beermen as they held off the Road Warriors in their elimination round meeting on July 22 thanks to Marcio Lassiter's game-winning triple.

However, for the Barangay, they have to shake off their overtime loss to the Aces on July 24 and have current import Justin Brownlee at his fittest self in their rematch.

Brownlee cramped and never got back to play late in their match against the Aces in what was his first game as reliever to the injured Paul Harris.

The Barangay, as per chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, have lost their last 14 games in an import-spiced conference against the Aces.

Gilas players Junemar Fajardo,Calvin Abueva, and Japeth Aguilar are expected to chalk up huge numbers for their respective clubs as they are among the leaders in the Best Player of the Conference race in terms of statistical points after the eliminations.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno