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Knockout Saturday

NO MORE TOMORROW The TNT Tropang Giga and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings clash in the PBA Governors Cup’ today, March 19, 2022, at the Araneta Coliseum. The winner shall advance to the semis and the loser will head to the exit door. PBA PHOTO

NO MORE TOMORROW The TNT Tropang Giga and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings clash in the PBA Governors Cup’ today, March 19, 2022, at the Araneta Coliseum. The winner shall advance to the semis and the loser will head to the exit door. PBA PHOTO 

TWO teams will advance to the Final Four and two teams will head to the exit.

This is the storyline of the twin knockout games in the quarterfinal round of PBA Governors’ Cup today, March 19, 2022, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, their never-say-die spirit in full display on Wednesday, will square off anew with the TNT Tropang Giga at 4 p.m.

Leading the Gin Kings in that win were two notable performers who embody the traditional Ginebra mantra — former Best Import Justin Brownlee and do-it-all Scottie Thompson.

Brownlee, a four-time PBA champion, proved why he deserved to be one of the greatest imports to play in the PBA and on opening day of the quarterfinals series, he achieved yet another milestone.

He finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks to keep Ginebra’s season alive. Apart from salvaging the team’s campaign, he was able to enter the PBA record books when he became the seventh all-time leading scorer among imports, surpassing Larry McNeil and joining the company of Norman Black, the late great seven-time Best Import Bobby Parks, Sean Chambers, Lew Massey, Billy Ray Bates and Francois Wise.

And then, there’s Thompson.

He wowed the crowd with his dazzling plays, especially in pulling down rebounds against taller, bigger opponents in the shaded lane. He churned out the stats line anew by producing 23 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

“That’s Scottie,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. “I took him out of the games twice and we lost leads. That would tell you how important he really is.”

“I think those numbers are gonna be normal for him. I really do. If he gets 35, 20 and 19, then you’ll get really ‘wooah.’ But these numbers, you’ll just think it’s just another day for Scottie. I think these numbers are numbers you’ll see consistently as his career continues to evolve and get better. I’m not surprised by that and I’m not surprised he’s showing up in big-time moments. On top of all that, he’s our primary stopper on Mikey Williams,” Cone added.

Williams has been the lifeblood of TNT’s offense, but he had to bleed for 19 points that he scored against Ginebra’s defense as the Gin Kings put up different faces in front of the super rookie — Nards Pinto, Thompson and even Brownlee — for several stretches.

TNT, the reigning Philippine Cup champion and owner of a twice-to-beat edge entering the playoffs, saw its five-game winning streak snapped by Ginebra. The Tropang Giga will have to find ways to get their usual balanced production and keep Ginebra’s defense guessing.

NLEX and Alaska clash in the main game at 6:30 p.m. as the two teams will likewise go for broke.

For the Aces, they want to prolong their stay in the PBA pending the announcement of new owners taking over the franchise.

Currently on its farewell tour, a loss would be the last basketball fans would see the Aces, but the team is hell bent on going out with a graceful exit.

The Road Warriors, who entered the playoffs as the second best team in the tournament, lost the twice-to-beat advantage, but are coming out more focused on playing better, particularly in getting the rebounds. They were beaten by the Aces in the rebounding department, 63-47, and it’s one of the things the team will try to get better at in the most important game of the season.

NLEX is looking to enter the semifinals for the second time in franchise history, both under head coach Yeng Guiao.

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