(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
Game 6, best-of-7 Finals
7 p.m. -- Meralco vs. Ginebra
BARANGAY Ginebra and coach Tim Cone have fervent goals today as they march to the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum.
While a victory for the Gin Kings will finally end their title drought that started in 2008, a victory for Cone will add new dimension in his coaching career spanning nearly three decades already in the PBA.
Not only will the 58-year-old Cone strengthen his distinction as the most bemedalled coach in Asia’s first play-for-pay league, he will also join an elite group of coaches who had won titles in three different franchise teams.
The group includes Tommy Manotoc (U/Text, San Miguel, Crispa), Baby Dalupan (Crispa, Great Taste, Purefoods), Chot Reyes (Purefoods,Coca-Cola, Talk ‘N Text), Yeng Guiao (Swift, Red Bull, Rain or Shine) and the very same coach he is facing today -- Norman Black (SMB, Sta. Lucia Realty, TNT).
The Gin Kings will also get to have their first taste of championship since a team backstopped by import Chris Alexander and handled by coach Jong Uichico beat Air 21 for the 2008 Fiesta Conference title.
All these will be the topic of discussion today and in the days to come, unless Meralco makes a big turnaround starting today when the Gin Kings and the Bolts collide at 7 p.m. in Game 6 of their best-of-7 series for the Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.
For the first time in the series, the Gin Kings managed to dominate the Bolts all game-long in Game 5 without seeing their lead eaten away or them collapsing under intense pressure last Sunday.
“We put our best game of the series together in Game 5 and now our challenge is to follow it up and not give the momentum back to Meralco,” said Cone, referring to their 92-81 Game 5 win fashioned before over 22,000 fans and which gave the Kings a 3-2 lead in the series.
“We expect a big fight back by them (Bolts). They’ve been an incredibly resilient team all conference long,” added Cone, who is looking for his 19th titles in the league and first with the Gin Kings.
The Bolts are looking to tie the series to forge a winner-take-all match in their bid to clinch their first ever championship since entering the league in 2010.
“It’s a do-or-die so we must get off to a good start and match the energy of Ginebra right from the jump ball,” said Black, owner of 11 titles already who is looking to bring the Bolts to the long roster of PBA champs in the 41 year old league.
“At this point it’s about who wants it the most so we have to play the type of basketball that got us this far in the tournament,” added Black, who is meeting Cone for the first time since 204.
“We must play our best basketball now,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the PBA Press Corps honors top personalities who excelled in the season about to end when it holds its Annual Awards Night on Oct. 22 at the Gloria Maris restaurant inside the Gateway Mall at the Araneta Center in Cubao.
The 7 p.m. event will have a sense of nostalgia as it pays tribute to the late great mentor Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan, in whose honor the Coach of the Year award has been named after by the men and women who covers the PBA beat.
Close family members, players, league officials, and colleagues of the man they called ‘The Maestro’ have been invited to grace the affair presented by CIGNAL, to remember the champion coach of Crispa, Great Taste, and Purefoods, who passed away two months ago at the age of 92.