(Philippine Arena, Bulacan)
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs Meralco
Ginebra, Meralco clash in sudden death.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco have pulled almost every trick in their books for the past six games, but expect both teams to deliver another surprise tonight when they dispute the PBA Governors’ Cup crown in the deciding game of their best-of-seven finals at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
A new attendance record could be set anew in the highly-anticipated 7 p.m. contest as the two squads hope to cap off the season with a piece of hardware that would symbolize their status as kingpins of the third conference.
“Best two words in sports, Game 7,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone, whose first crack at giving Ginebra its second straight Governors’ Cup crown and a record 20th overall was foiled two nights earlier by Meralco in front of a PBA record 53,642 people at the same venue.
Meralco pushed the series to the limit with a 98-91 victory behind solid performances by its locals that complemented the usual productive output of two-time Best Import Allen Durham.
The only wish of Bolts coach Norman Black, eyeing title No. 12, is to see his players come out and play with a sense of desire to finally erase the bitter feeling of last year’s finals defeat to Ginebra on Justin Brownlee’s game-winning three and secure the franchise’s first-ever crown in the pro loop.
“Down to a Game 7. And to be quite honest, this is where we wanted to be the entire conference,” Black said. “We wanted to put ourselves in a situation where we could win this championship. And the hard part is we’re up against very tough competition.
“They wanted to do the same thing, the wanna win. It’s a Game 7, it comes down to one game, it comes down to 48 minutes, 24 seconds per point. And we just got to get it done. One team is gonna get it done, that’s for sure, and I hope it’s gonna be us,” he added.
Cone and Black will face off in only their second Game 7 of a finals series, a stat hard to imagine considering how both American coaches have made their mark in the local hoops scene.
Cone won the first battle for Alaska, leaning on his star players Jojo Lastimosa, Bong Hawkins, Johnny Abarrientos and import Sean Chambers to beat Black and the Allan Caidic and Kenny Travis-led San Miguel Beermen, 99-86, in the 1995 Governors’ Cup Finals.
But that is all in the past and the two are more concerned on how to score one more win to end the season on a high note.
“I’m not sure if experience will play out in Game 7. Game 7s is all an animal by itself,” Cone said. “It’s truly a 50-50 game, that’s why you don’t want to play a Game 7.”
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