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Game 7 tonight is 22nd in PBA history

by Waylon Galvez

Manila, Philippines – Tonight’s game between Petron Blaze and San Mig Coffee will mark the 22nd time that a Game 7 will be played in a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) finals.

Interestingly, the two teams have been in this situation seven times before. Both have identical records – three wins, four losses.

Petron beat San Mig Coffee, and, playing by its former name San Miguel Beer, won against Purefoods in the 1988 Open Conference and again in 1992 All-Filipino Conference.

San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone has a 5-4 record in Game 7, and 1-1 with the team as B-Meg downed Talk ’N Text in the sudden-death in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup but lost to Rain or Shine in the Governors’ Cup.

Petron Blaze mentor Gee Abanilla, on the other hand, is eyeing to become the second coach in PBA history to win a title in a Game 7 after Ryan Gregorio steered Purefoods TJ to the 2002 Governors’ Cup versus Alaska (then under Cone).

The last time the Petron Blaze franchise won a Game 7 was during the 2011 Governors’ Cup against TNT – the team’s last championship in the PBA.

The Boosters forced Game 7 with a 99-88 victory in Game 6. There were 11 PBA teams that went on to win Game 7 after taking Game 6, and the last team to do the trick was San Miguel Beer in 2009 opposite Barangay Ginebra in the Fiesta Cup.

Players from both sides have their take on playing in a Game 7 as some of them have been in this situation, while a few are playing for the first time in a do-or-die with the championship at stake. Here is what they say.

James Yap (San Mig Coffee)

3rd career Game 7 Finals

“Lahat ng games sa Finals all-out, pero ito do-or-die na ‘to. Focus and kung sino ang consistent sa defense ‘yun ang malaking chance na manalo. Nakuha nila Game 6, so move on lang kami. Physical ang Game 6, mas physical sa Game 7. Ganun naman sa Finals, walang gusto magpa-talo. Kaya lahat ng natutuhan mo sa basketball, ilabas mo na sa Game 7.”

Marc Pingris (San Mig Coffee)

3rd career Game 7 Finals

“Kung sino ‘yung may pinaka-malaking puso na manalo, kung sino ang may pinaka-malaking puso na mag-laro sa Game 7, ‘yun ang mananalo. Maski natalo ngayon, hindi naman kami sumusuko, lalaban pa din kami. Pero sa amin pa rin ‘yan.”

Mark Barroca (San Mig Coffee)

3rd career Game 7 Finals

“Nawala ako sa rhythm e, early foul (in Game 6). So adjust kami sa calls ng referees. Alam naman ng team kung paano lumaro sa Game 7, napagdaanan na namin ‘to last season dalawang beses pa. Tingin ko advantage sa amin, kaya naming i-handle ang pressure.”

Joe Devance (San Mig Coffee)

2nd career Game 7 Finals

“Game 7… nothing else to say. Whoever wants it more will have it. Just work hard. That’s what we can do.”

Alex Mallari (San Mig Coffee)

1st career Game 7 Finals

“No pressure, I just take it as a regular game. The moment you think about it, you put the pressure on yourself. So I’ll just take it as a regular game.”

Arwind Santos (Petron Blaze)

3rd career Game 7 Finals

“Alam natin na pukpukan ‘to. Ang bumigay talo. Gagawin na namin lahat kung ano yung magagawa namin. Siguro hahakutin na namin lahat ng lakas at kaalaman namin sa basketball para manalo.”

Alex Cabagnot (Petron Blaze)

2nd career Game 7 Finals

“Both teams are gonna play their hearts out. Both teams will gonna leave it out there. There’s one more game to play. I don’t want to make excuses (about my foot injury). I’ll definitely play.”

June Mar Fajardo (Petron Blaze)

1st career Game 7 Finals

“Dapat all-out, yung pina-praktis mo, ‘yung natutuhan mo. Ibigay ko lahat ng makakaya ko. Masakit na sa katawan ‘yung Game 7 kasi lahat ng players ibibigay na lahat, wala ng bukas.”

Marcio Lassiter (Petron Blaze)

1st career Game 7 Finals

“This will be my first time playing in Game 7, so I’m excited. We’re all just going to rest our body, and prepare for Game 7.”

Chris Lutz (Petron Blaze)

1st career Game 7 Finals

“Momentum is on us but in a Game 7 anything can happen. It’s the last game, no tomorrow. So we’ll give it our all, we’ll give it our best to win it.”