Coach Tim Cone believes Barangay Ginebra will be having a hell of a semifinal series with San Miguel Beer, a team he deemed more dangerous now even without superstar June Mar Fajardo.
Without the injured Fajardo, it seemed like the Beermen has become a quick-paced squad.
"We are playing well but San Miguel is playing probably the best in the league right now," said Cone following their 127-93 beating of an import-less NLEX in the quarterfinals.
"They are really playing well. They are like us. They are sharing the ball, they play defense a little differently from us. It is super effective. I think they lead the league in defense, I believe. But it's going to be a really, really tough series even if June Mar is not there."
Cone pointed out that San Miguel’s Cameron Clark has meshed with the team well, allowing the wings to do damage as their import maintained his presence inside the shaded area.
"They've proven over the past three games without June Mar that they can play at a high level without him," the Ginebra tactician said.
"In fact, they play a little quicker, more of an up-and-down. Their import has an opportunity to dominate a little bit more inside. They've been able to overcome June Mar's absence with flying colors."
For his part, San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent admitted it will be a challenge beating their sister team in the post eliminations.
"Nothing comes easy now. It's the playoffs... I'm expecting we're gonna have a hard time in the semifinals," Gallent said.
Just like San Miguel, Ginebra has an array of defensive schemes that will test the Beermen’s patience.
Cone also has at his disposal the likes of Christian Standhardinger, Justin Brownlee and Jamie Malonzo to match CJ Perez, Vic Manuel and Clark on offense.
Their best-of-five semis clash begins on Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.