Coach Nash Racela of TNT KaTropa expects a tough grind against defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as they begin their best-of-five semifinal series of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is set 7 p.m. as Racela believes the Gin Kings are zooming with confidence after ending the grandslam bid of San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinal round.
“It will be tough going up against the defending champion (Ginebra). They played really well in their last game against SMB (San Miguel Beer),” said Racela.
“We expect the whole team to just play above the challenge ahead of us,” he added.
After losing to Rain or Shine (102-106) in the quarterfinal round, the No. 2 twice-to-beat holder KaTropa bounced back in their knockout game, 118-114, behind the solid outing from import Glen Rice Jr.
Rice Jr., who is averaging 31.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists, finished with a near triple-double performance of 34 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists against the Elasto Painters.
Ginebra has a score to settle against the KaTropa as the Gin Kings were eliminated by TNT in the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
Import Justin Brownlee, who also played in the last Commissioners Cup and last year’s Governors Cup, notched 37 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in their win against Beermen.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone is cautious of the fast-paced game of TNT.
“TNT handled us with ease the last time they played us,” said Cone, referring to the KaTropa’s 121-92 win over the Gin Kings in the elimination round.
“They totally outplayed and outran us. We’ll need to find some ways to slow them down. No doubt they are a tough match up for us. Size versus speed and it could be a classic series,” he added.