2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semifinals: Offensive Execution is Key in Ginebra-Magnolia Tilt

Rivals Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots tussle in a best-of-five semifinals series in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

2022 pba semifinals
Original photos via PBA Images

Team Stats Comparison

2022 pba semifinals
Stats per RealGM (as of 12/12)

Import Matchup

  • Nick Rakocevic

    24.6 points, 18.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.1 blocks, 53.1% True Shooting

  • Justin Brownlee

    28.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.2 blocks, 53.5% True Shooting

Local Catalysts

  • Jio Jalalon

    11.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.4 steals

  • Scottie Thompson

    11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals

Which offense wins out?

Magnolia and Ginebra both boast Top 5 offenses, and they have a bevy of capable playmakers who can initiate their sets. Both teams are also very deliberate in executing their halfcourt sets; Ginebra plays at the third-lowest pace this conference, while Magnolia runs the fourth-lowest pace.

Offensive execution and taking care of the ball will be key in this “Manila Clasico” semifinals duel. Ginebra has to be wary of Magnolia’s knack for forcing their opponents to commit turnovers. Spearheaded by Jio Jalalon (league-best 2.4 steals), Magnolia is the best in the league in forcing opponent turnovers (19.2). When they faced each other in the elimination round, the Gin Kings committed a total of 24 turnovers. Luckily for them, the Hotshots shot horridly from the field, allowing Ginebra to escape with a six-point win.

Magnolia should also put a premium on taking good care of the rock. Ginebra doesn’t force a lot of turnovers as Magnolia does, but they almost always score when they run on the break. The Gin Kings average the highest fastbreak points this conference (16.1), making 9.3 of their 10.7 fastbreak attempts.  With the likes of Jamie Malonzo or Scottie Thompson, Ginebra can certainly take advantage of opponent miscues and finish in transition.

Other Important Notes

Prediction: Ginebra books a Finals ticket

This will be a grueling battle between two teams who rank in the Top 5 in both offensive and defensive ratings. It won’t be a surprise if each game goes down the wire. 

If the Ginebra big men (Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger) steer clear of foul trouble to avoid Nick Rakocevic easily dominating them in the paint, they’ll have a good chance of winning games in regulation. Having a big-time shot-maker in Justin Brownlee should help Ginebra escape in the clutch.

If they get it together and avoid early large deficits against Magnolia, Ginebra should be able to win this series and advance to the Finals.

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