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PBA: Waiting game in semifinals series

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Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra brushes aside Alex Mallari of NLEX. (Photos courtesy of the PBA Media Group)

Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra brushes aside Alex Mallari of NLEX. (Photos courtesy of the PBA Media Group)

by Jonas Terrado

One thing is for sure: They’ll be meeting in the semifinals. What remains to be settled is when.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Magnolia were forced to play the waiting game at press time to see if they will start their best-of-five PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series today or be given until the weekend to map out their battle plans.

The outcome of the Phoenix-Meralco and Alaska-San Miguel Beer quarterfinal matches last night will determine whether the Kings and the Hotshots will be asked to return to the floor tonight and begin their semis showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Phoenix and Alaska need to win their games at the Cuneta Astrodome to arrange their own best-of-five semis duel. Both teams carry a twice-to-beat advantage against their quarterfinal foes.

Should both prevail, the Ginebra-Magnolia semis starts tonight as per a memo handed by the PBA over the weekend.

But a win by either Meralco, San Miguel or both will force a rubber match tomorrow at the Big Dome, thus moving the start of the Ginebra-Magnolia series to Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

PBA sources said the league is looking to finish the semifinals as soon as they can to give national coach Yeng Guiao enough preparation time for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

The semis could end as late as Nov. 20, which comes 10 days before the Philippines takes on Kazakhstan in the start of the fifth window at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Nationals are also slated to meet Iran on Dec. 3 at the same venue.

Having to wait for the results of the remaining quarterfinal encounters will likely affect Ginebra and Magnolia’s preparation for their semis duel.

Both teams advanced to the last four after eliminating NLEX and Blackwater in Tuesday’s quarterfinal opener.

Ginebra holds an edge over Magnolia, having won the last seven Manila Clasico encounters, including a 93-86 triumph last Oct. 28.

It will be the first semis meeting of both teams since the 2017 Philippine Cup when Ginebra beat the then-Star Hotshots in seven games.

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