By REYNALD MAGALLON
The Ginbera Kings are looking to complete something that has never been done by any team before – sweeping the proud and mighty San Miguel Beermen in a best-of-five series.
San Miguel has never been swept in 26 best-of-five series and Barangay Ginebra got the rare chance of putting an end to that streak when they clash in Game 3 of their 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, March 29.
The defending champions, who are eyeing a return trip to the finals, try to go for a kill against the Beermen in the first offering of the semis double-header at 3 p.m.
Following suit is the much competitive showdown between MVP team TNT and Meralco which tangle for the series lead in the second game at 5:45 p.m.
While momentum was obviously on the Kings side after taking a commanding 2-0 series lead with a 121-103 Game 2 win, Ginebra head coach Tim Cone believes it still remains a daunting task to finish off San Miguel in Game 3.
“You’re gonna play a good team like San Miguel, it’s nearly impossible to beat them three times. We’re gonna try to do the impossible on Wednesday. Good news is we got a day off to recover a little bit before we focus on getting back on our game planning,” said Cone.
The multi-titled mentor also warned his charges that they cannot afford to play complacent as despite winning the first two games both in a runaway fashion, the Beermen was able to show flashes of their old, dominant form even in the absence of Fajardo.
Cone even highlighted a sequence in the series opener when SMB unloaded a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter that erased Ginebra’s lead before the defending champion managed to recover in time and come away with a 121-112 win.
With that, even with the final return within the Kings’ hands, they refused to get too much ahead of themselves.
“You start saying you have that kind of lead then you’re opening yourself out on being kampante and if you do that against a team like this then you are in big trouble,” said Cone
“Basically we got one game to play, that’s all we are thinking about. The old one game at a time, it’s a cliche but it’s a cliche because it’s absolutely true,” he added as he leans once more to his old reliables in Justin Brownlee and Christian Standhardinger along with young guns Jamie Malonzo and Jeremiah Gray.
SMB, holding on to dear life, will be leaning on import Cameron Clark along with CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter and Mo Tautuaa as they hope to avoid elimination and extend the series to a Game 4.