Tale of Two Sisters: The Semis
April 8, 2012 by Sydrick Salazar
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The B-Meg Llamados fought tooth and nail to score Meralco’s second straight loss to arrange a duel against the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
B-Meg messed up the Bolts’ chances to clinch their first-ever semifinal appearance since taking over the franchise of the Sta. Lucia Realtors. Jonas Villanueva, one of many pretenders to Olsen Racela’s throne, provided the stifling defense to “limit” Sol Mercado. Mercado did well with a team-high 27 points but could have scored more had not for Villanueva. Meanwhile, Marc Pingris did an excellent job for the second straight game coming off with 6 points and 16 rebounds.
While Earl Barron had 23 points, the former Miami Heat center was outplayed by Denzel Bowles who finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds.
It also didn’t help that Macmac Cardona was only good for four points in two games with the first two points because of ejection and the final two points because of shin injury.
So what now?
A faceoff with the Barangay Ginebra Kings – that’s now.
In crowd of more or less 16,000, the Llamados cruised over the Kings with a fourth quarter tear. Denzel Bowles’ double-double handled Jackson Vroman’s almost triple-double with great ease – thanks to his teammates. James Yap and Peter June Simon combined with 36 points while Mark Barroca and Josh Urbiztondo effectively launched seven triples in B-Meg’s first game since sending old reliable Roger Yap to the ABL’s San Miguel Beermen. Dylan Ababou, Mark Caguioa, and Jayjay Helterbrand scored in double figures that had little help from former celebrated Llamado Kerby Raymundo. To even up the odds though, ex-Ginebra player JC Intal went scoreless in 17 minutes.
Aside from Intal, B-Meg players to have donned the Ginebra jersey are Rafi Reavis and Yancy De Ocampo. As for Ginebra, Raymundo, Enrico Villanueva, KG Canaleta, and Billy Mamaril are among the players who have played for the Purefoods/B-Meg squad.
The semis will be a different case for both squads and I doubt if they’ll try to reminisce their first encounter. Ginebra’s run and gun play has been toned down with the arrival of more post up threats. The Llamados on the other hand are slowly but surely getting in the know with Tim Cone’s dreaded triangle offense.
This is a good series from both teams. For Siot Tanquingcen, it’s time to break out from a title slump while for Tim Cone it’s time for him to return to the throne.
Denzel Bowles and Jackson Vroman will face off again. Both imports are flawed with the younger Bowles’ maturity in question and Vroman’s horrendous 33 percent free throw shooting.
Both teams’ scoring machines will also be put on the test with Mark Caguioa’s injury and James Yap’s slump. The core of Joe Devance, Marc Pingris, Peter June Simon, Josh Urbiztondo, Mark Barroca, Rafi Reavis, Yancy De Ocampo, Jonas Villanueva, and JC Intal will likely help Yap and Bowles in their cause while for Ginebra they have a cabinet filled with stars but they’ll pretty much use Mike Cortez, Raymundo, Ababou, Rudy Hatfield, KG Canaleta, Willy Wilson, Rob Labagala, and Jayjay Helterbrand to help Caguioa and Vroman.
Where is Enrico Villanueva you may ask?
I think Siot will use Menk more than E-Vil.
I have no idea.
Regardless, I think Ginebra has slightly the edge in this fight. Unlike Meralco, Ginebra has a lot of scorers but that edge might go bye-bye once Caguioa gets sidelined. But for B-Meg though, they have to be weary of the Gins because logic dies out when their crowd suddenly drums up to “Hulk Up” their crew.
It should be an exciting bout.