Ginebra and NLEX sweep series, advance to the semis

Barangay Ginebra 99 – Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 91, Ginebra advances to the semifinals

With Greg Slaughter still recovering from an injury, Barangay Ginebra got a big game from Japeth Aguilar to lead the team to the semis. Ginebra swept the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in two games to make it to the next level of the playoffs.

It was a game of runs from both teams as soon as the ball was tipped. The Elasto Painters jumped out to an early lead behind the hot shooting of Beau Belga. Ginebra found their groove modway through the first quarter led by LA Tenorio. He hit a three-pointer, a fadeaway jumper and dished off a nice pass to Jervy Cruz as Ginebra took the lead. After Tenorio pulled them ahead, it was Aguilar’s turn to increase the lead. He powered Ginebra with strong moves in the paint as Ginebra took a nine-point lead in the second quarter.

With the game in danger of slipping away, Maverick Ahanmisi took matters into his own hand and powered Rain or Shine back into the game. He hit two three-pointers and got a scoop layup to fall to give Rain or Shine the lead back. The Elasto Painters took a three-point lead heading into the second half.

In the third period, Tenorio and Aguilar teamed up to form a potent inside-outside combo to lead Ginebra. Tenorio buried his outside shots while Aguilar used his strength and length to get his points in the paint. Ginebre reclaimed the lead with a hook shot from Aguilar and Tenorio added a three-pointer right after to increase the lead. Ginebra took a five-point lead heading into the final quarter. In the final period, Rain or Shine tried to overtake Ginebra once again, cutting the lead down to just one-point multiple times. But Ginebra had an answer to every Elasto Painter shot.

NLEX Road Warriors 87 – Alaska Aces 83, NLEX advances to the semifinals

In the last game, the NLEX Road Warriors got their first playoff win in franchise history. This game, the Road Warriors advance to the semis for the first time as they take down the Alaska Aces with a 2-0 sweep.

Michael Miranda and Kevin Alas came up big in the final minutes of the game. The Alaska Aces took a three-point lead off a Ping Exciminiano floater with three minutes left in the game. The Road Warriors came right back in the next possession to tie the game at 83. Kiefer Ravena and Miranda ran a perfect pick and pop play. Ravena used the Miranda screen, sucked the defense his way and dished off to a wide-open Miranda for the game-tying three-pointer. In the next possession, Ravena found Miranda again as the big man was fouled. Miranda sank two free throws to give NLEX the lead.

With a little over a minute left in the game, Kevin Alas delivered the dagger. Alas got the ball on the right wing and quickly drove into the lane. Calvin Abueva anticipated his shot and went up to try and block the shot as Alas jumped. With Abueva blocking his way, Alas scooped it under and got the layup to fall off the board. That gave NLEX a four-point lead heading into the final seconds of the game. Alaska still had a chance to get back in the game but Abueva and Jvee Casio bobbled their final attempts.

Alas led the Road Warriors with 18 points and nine rebounds. Miranda came off the bench to score 12 points on 60% shooting. Ravena shot poorly, hitting only 1/13 shots. But he still managed to score 11 points and dish out seven assists.

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