Fastbreak: PBA semis cast almost complete
Meralco Bolts (86) - (68) Barako Bull Energy
The Best: Reynel Hugnatan stepped up once again, registering 18 points and 12 rebounds to help lead Meralco over the upstart Barako Bull squad. Hugnatan shot 9/15 from the field and added 2 blocks plus 1 steal to his stat-line, and now he has a chance to do something similar in the semifinals. The thing is, he still has some waiting to do because the Alaska Aces forced the San Mig Coffee Mixers to a do-or-die match tonight.
The Worst: Three of Barako's starters -- JC Intal, Mark Macapagal, and Mick Pennisi combined for a grand total of 6 points and 4 rebounds. At this level, that production just won't cut it. In the process, the Energy wasted the 4 triples and 23 points of Ronjay Buenafe. And now? Rajko Toroman and his crew have a long vacation to think about their future.
Going West: Mario West has been up-and-down a little bit this conference, but at least he was able to lead Meralco into the Govs' Cup version of the Final Four. West has averaged 28.0ppg, 8.0rpg, and 1.8spg so far while also shooting 31% from beyond the arc. Needless to say, coach Ryan Gregorio would need him to consistently unload that kind of production if the Bolts are to push right through to the Finals.
Alaska Aces (112) - (105) San Mig Coffee
The Best: JV Casio played like the kind of top-tier point guard he has the potential to be, dropping 21 points plus 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals in the big Alaska win. He effectively backstopped Wendell McKines, who scored 38 points and grabbed 15 boards. Casio won his match-up against former Gilas teammate Mark Barroca, who scored just 6 markers.
The Worst: The three is one of the main weapons of San Mig Coffee, but when the Mixers connect on only 3 of their 19 treys, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they end up losing. Marqus Blakely, James Yap, Joe Devance, and Allein Maliksi all combined for 13 of SMC's 16 misses from rainbow country.
Local Flavor: Aside from Casio, other locals who came up big for Alaska were Sonny Thoss and Cyrus Baguio. Thoss had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Baguio ended up with 17 markers, 4 boards, and 2 dimes. McKines is a superb import, but there is no way he can spearhead Alaska by himself.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (108) - (106) GlobalPort Batang Pier
The Best: The Painters stepped up big time when they needed to, and now they're back in the Govs' Cup semifinals. Arizona Reid led 5 Painters in who finished in double-figures, scoring 25 points on top of 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Ryan Arana also did well, scoring 12 of his 16 markers in the payoff period as Rain or Shine stayed alive in its bid to defend the Govs' Cup title.
The Worst: The percentages just caught up with GlobalPort here, and, well, they didn't exactly do a terrific job of taking care of the basketball. The Batang Pier turned it over 15 times while forcing just 6 TOs from ROS. Now Sol Mercado, Jay Washington, Gary David, and the rest of GlobalPort can ponder on their short-lived playoff experience before the start of the next season.
Not even their best yet: Just think about this for a minute -- the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters are in the semifinals despite their biggest guns -- Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood -- still playing a little below what we're used to. They will be tested against Petron Blaze, of course, and if the Painters want to continue their advance, both Norwood and Chan need to unleash their true capabilities.
Petron Blaze Boosters (101) - (94) Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings
The Best: Yes, Elijah Millsap wants to win the big one. Millsap may not have scored as much as his Ginebra counterpart, Dior Lowhorn, but wow, a triple-double isn't anything to scoff at. Millsap registered 22 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists, and 3 steals for the Boosters, who have now set a semis date with defending champion Rain or Shine.
The Worst: Mark Caguioa slipping, sliding, and almost doing a split on the MOA Arena floor. Sad to see a star like him go down like that. Insert sad face. Oh, and where did Chris Ellis's great play from their last game disappear to?
Fulfilling Potential?: Finally, the depth of Petron is in full showing and it sure looks like they can run through any opponent on their way to the Govs Cup. The tandem of June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos has been rock-solid in the paint, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter have been effective from the outside, and, well, Millsap has been the perfect complement. Barring any injuries, this conference is Petron's to lose. - Rappler.com