(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs Meralco (Game 4)
The war between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals has drifted from the playing court over to the benches.
No longer is the best-of-7 series limited to players banging bodies, fighting for every possession and contesting every shot.
The fight has now reached the sidelines, waged feverishly it seems, between two great minds in Philippine basketball coaching: Ginebra’s Tim Cone versus Meralco’s Norman Black.
After what happened in the final seconds of Game 3, Ginebra and Meralco players will have to take a backseat for a moment as the backdrop in today’s Game 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum will have the spotlight shining on the two Grand Slam coaches.
Shots were fired between the two after Meralco’s 94-81 win last Wednesday when Cone refused to shake hands with Black – an unwritten rule for coaches and players after the game in a show of respect and sportsmanship – and the two engaged in a heated exchange of words.
Asked to comment on the snub, Black took a dig on Cone.
“I think everybody knows Tim is the all-time leader in wins and championships in the PBA,” said Black, who ranks third in the all-time list with 10 titles and a Grand Slam in 1989 (San Miguel) while Cone is on top with 19 and two Grand Slams – 1996 (Alaska) and 2014 (San Mig Super Coffee).
“I’ve never in my life made any effort to tell him how to coach his team, so I never need him to tell me how I’ll coach mine, he didn’t shake my hand because he was mad about the last timeout. That’s his problem, not mine,” Black said.
Cone apparently felt slighted after Black called for a timeout with 38 seconds left and Meralco ahead by 13.
As the final buzzer sounded, Black approached Cone for the customary handshake at mid-court but was instead hit with a verbal barrage from Cone. Black responded accordingly and as fiercely before players stepped in, including Ginebra’s Joe Devance.
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