MANILA, Philippines - There will be no shortage of Philippine hoops action thanks to the PBA semifinals.
The PBA Philippine Cup semifinal matches are tied at one game apiece and the games are bound to get more intense as we enter the latter part of the playoffs.
Let's take a look at both semifinals series and find out the match-ups and key players in each of the series.
Talk' N Text vs Alaska
Game 1: Ryan Reyes hits game-winning three ball, 66-65
Game 2: Casio, Abueva, Baguio combine for 60 points to even series, 100-88
Game 3: December 26, Wednesday at 6:45 PM
Game 4: December 28, Friday at 6:45 PM
Game 5: December 30, Sunday at 4:15 PM (if necessary)
Game 6: January 4, Friday at 6:45 PM (if necessary)
Game 7: Jaunary 7, Monday at 6:45 PM (if necessary)
Whoever thought this series was going to be over soon, couldn't be more wrong.
Most people didn't expect Alaska to still be playing at this time of the year, but here they are giving the defending champions all that they can handle.
There are several interesting match-ups in this series like the young vs old but both sweet-shooting point guards JVee Casio and Jimmy Alapag.
There's also the open court specialists Cyrus Baguio and Jayson Castro, The Beast Calvin Abueva vs. Kelly Williams and Harvey Carey and many others.
Key Player: Sonny Thoss
But the key player in this series is Aces center Sonny Thoss. After averaging 8.46 points and 5.86 rebounds in the elimination round, the 6'7" center raised his game in the semis averaging 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Thoss is arguably the best back-to-the-basket center in the league right now and he's shown in the first 2 outings that Talk 'N Text has a hard time containing his game.
He has to keep this up if Alaska wants to have a chance in winning the series. The Aces have to keep hitting quick and early. A shorter series could be in their favor.
If the series goes the distance, advantage shifts to the defending champion Texters. Their experience and championship poise will help them close out the series.
Rain or Shine vs SanMig Coffee
Game 1: Chan, Lee shoots Rain or Shine to opening victory, 91-83
Game 2: James Yap drops 34 and 10 to help SanMig Coffee even series, 106-82
Game 3: December 25, Tuesday at 5:15 PM
Game 4: December 27, Thursday at 6:45 PM
Game 5: December 29, Saturday at 6:00 PM (if necessary)
Game 6: January 3, Thursday at 6:45 PM (if necessary)
Game 7: January 6, Sunday at 5:00 PM (if necessary)
An intense rematch of the 2012 Governor's Cup finals, this time without imports.
Rain or Shine had their first taste of a PBA championship after an intense 7-game duel and this Philippine Cup semifinal series might just go the distance as well.
Perhaps the most interesting match-up in this series will not happen in the playing court but in the sidelines - The systematic Tim Cone vs the unpredictable Yeng Guiao.
In game 1, Guiao used Rain or Shine's guards to wreak havoc against SanMig Coffee. In game 2, Tim Cone opted to use a shorter line-up, and it helped that Big Game James yap was hitting it from downtown (7/12 3PT-FGs).
Paul Lee, who was a huge addition to the Painters had his worst outing since coming back from injury in game 2 scoring only 7 points despite dishing 5 assists.
Key Player: Paul Lee
Guiao has to find ways to get Lee in spots where he can either score or create for his teammates. Despite being just a sophomore in the league, last season's Rookie of the Year is the Painters' most lethal weapon.
Both teams will consistently offer suffocating defense and SanMig Coffee has the advantage in terms of firepower.
Lee's production, or lack thereof is key to Rain or Shine's fate in the semifinals.