PBA Friday Preview: Ginebra Takes On League-Leading SMB

Another big challenge is waiting for Ginebra as they take on SMB on PBA Friday.

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Photo via PBA Images

2022-23 PBA Governors' Cup Friday Games (February 17)

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum

First Game: TNT Tropang Giga (6-1) versus Meralco Bolts (3-2)

Second Game: Barangay Ginebra (3-1) versus San Miguel Beermen (6-1)

TNT looks to extend winning streak to five

Winners of four straight games, the TNT Tropang Giga is currently the hottest team in the PBA. RR Pogoy, who sizzled for 40 points in TNT’s 22-point beatdown of the Blackwater Bossing, is shooting 50% from three-point land (12-24 3P) in the last three games.

On Friday, TNT will try to extend their winning streak against the Meralco Bolts. Meralco beat TNT, 97-91, in their previous matchup during the Commissioner’s Cup. The Bolts already had K.J. McDaniels as their import then, but the return of lead guard Chris Newsome should pose more problems for the TNT defense.

Notable Stats

  • As a team, TNT is shooting an excellent 40.2% clip from the three-point line. Much of it was the work of their previous import Jalen Hudson, but this team also has a lot of shooters on their roster. New TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson isn't reliant on his long-range shooting, but the attention he attracts in the paint should create more open looks for his shooters.

  • After a disastrous Commissioner's Cup campaign that saw them uncharacteristically finish with the fourth-worst defensive rating, Meralco's vaunted defense is up and running again. The Bolts are leading the league in defensive rating (103.3) this conference, but they have a huge test against TNT on Friday.

Yet another big challenge for Ginebra

After suffering through a 30-point loss at the hands of the Magnolia Hotshots, the road doesn’t get easier for Ginebra. They’re up against San Miguel on Friday, a team that just racked up a franchise-high 46 assists in their last game. 

Cameron Clark’s lack of three-point shooting has not hindered him from fitting in nicely with star big man June Mar Fajardo and the rest of SMB’s very talented lineup. The Beermen are still waiting for the return of Terrence Romeo, but this team is already very difficult to deal with, even for Ginebra.

Notable Stats

  • Jeremiah Gray is steadily earning himself more minutes (and touches) in Ginebra's rotation. He is literally making half of his three-point attempts (52% on 5.3 3PA) on his way to a decent scoring average of 12.8 points this conference. Gray's impact isn't just felt on offense; he's also contributing on the other end by helping on the boards (4.8 rebounds).

  • No Terrence Romeo, no problem for San Miguel (so far). With Romeo sitting out and Chris Ross logging a career-low in minutes, Simon Enciso has elevated his playmaking this conference. Enciso is currently averaging a career-high 8.3 assists, almost five ticks higher than his previous high of 4.7, which he set last conference.

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