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PBA: Kings go for clincher

Game Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. – Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa

Defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel looks to close out TNT KaTropa and arrange a finals rematch with Meralco in tonight’s Game 4 of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series that has become more emotional following a tumultuous encounter the last time.

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Momentum is on Ginebra’s side going into the 6:30 p.m. match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum after Friday’s 106-103 victory marred by a heated exchange between TNT coach Nash Racela and San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua at halftime.

The incident could have gone worse had not for the intervention of cooler heads, but tensions are expected to remain near the boiling point as both teams are eager to emerge victorious.

“The stakes are getting higher every time there’s a game in a series, the stakes are getting higher,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. “It gets more and more emotional and I hope we play with emotions in Game 4. I’m sure they’re all gonna lift their level too.”

Cone and Racela, who has emerged as TNT’s outspoken leader, spent the aftermath of Game 3 voicing their different views on how the officiating was handled.

Ginebra was awarded 43 free throws, compared to just 14 for TNT – a discrepancy that certainly upset the KaTropa camp.

“We gave up 35 free throws in Game 2. We were the more aggressive team (in Game 3),” said Cone. “We went to the line a lot because we were the more aggressive team. They were the more aggressive team in Game 2. I don’t care what TNT may say, that’s the way it is. You are the more aggressive team, you can get to the free throw line.”

Racela, however, disagrees.

“We were also aggressive (in Game 3). (TNT import) Glen Rice (Jr.) kept on attacking the basket. I don’t know what coach Tim was talking about. We all know why we got a lot of free throws last game, because they really fouled us. I think the next game, we will foul them a lot again and they’ll get a lot of free throws again. We just have to find ways.”

Ginebra’s Joe Devance, who played the hero’s role late with two putbacks that sealed the win, took time to throw some jabs at TNT.

“I played against TNT a few series now and they kinda say the same thing,” said Devance, who had 20 points in Game 3. “I think if they’re gonna be so aggressive on defense, they have to expect that, you know.