Ginebra Aims to Push San Miguel to the Limit in PBA Semifinals Governors' Cup 2023

At the outset of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals match, BARANGAY Ginebra presented San Miguel Beer with a major issue. When they meet again on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, the Gin Kings want to be more consistent, adding to the Beermen’s anxieties.

Coach Jorge Gallent and his troops will undoubtedly play with a greater purpose to avoid going behind 2-0. But first, they must overcome one significant fault in their defense: limiting Christian Standhardinger.

Ginebra def. San Miguel

Ginebra won the first game of the best-of-five series 121-112 last Friday, mostly because Standhardinger was practically unstoppable in the shaded lanes, freeing up the likes of Jamie Malonzo for outside jumpers.

Due to Standhardinger’s remarkable performance, coach Tim Cone referred to the Fil-German center as the Kings’ lynchpin in their quest for a second consecutive title and sixth overall in the season-ending tournament. “Christian has been playing well. He’s been making the correct reads and rolls for his teammates. As a result, the perimeter is open for us, and Jamie, Justin (Brownlee), and Scottie (Thompson) were able to get their shots, “Cone said.

“There’s no mistake about it, he’s been the catalyst this entire conference, and we play through him at this point,” Cone added before emphasizing that they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

“We won the game, so I believe we did okay overall,” Cone remarked. “But, there were also awful patches when we didn’t play well when we played a little flat.”

“You can never count them out,” Standhardinger said after a 33-point, 10-rebound effort in Game 1. “So I believe the key thing we need to take away from that is to keep pressing and playing the best defense we can.”

The biggest reason Cone and Standhardinger are concerned is how SMB fought back after losing by as much as 21 points in the third quarter. The highlight of that run was the Beermen’s 15-0 barrage only three minutes into the fourth session, which brought them even at 95.

The Kings could draw away again thanks to Malonzo’s triple and Standhardinger’s four-point play before their teammates chipped in to hold their opponents at bay.

Yet, Cone was disappointed with the performance. “As Christian mentioned, we need to figure that out and ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he added.

“This team is far too talented. If it was a close game and you lost attention… blink your eyes, and they might be up 10 to 15 points in a flash. Fortunately, it happened while we were up by 20, so we had time to recover, “Cone said.

“If it had happened in the middle of the game and it’s a two-point game or a three-point game, we don’t recover from that. So we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board for Game 2.”