(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
Best-of- seven finals
6:30 p.m. -- Meralco vs. Ginebra
NINE long years of fruitless campaign seems a fate Barangay Ginebra could not seem to take anymore.
Equally ardent is Meralco’s desire to win its first title since entering the PBA in 2010.
One of them will move closer to their goal today, if at all Game 5 of the best-of-seven series for the Governors’ Cup is played, depending on what’s going to be the weather condition in the next 24 hours.
With four games not enough, it’s now basically a best-of-three affair where adjustment, nor momentum would no longer be much of a factor in the 6:30 p.m. game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
At least that’s how Meralco coach Norman Black sees it.
“Being that it’s a best-of-three (series), I’m sure adjustments at this point will be limited and it’s now all about winning,” Black told People’s Journal/Tonight yesterday in a text message prior to their practice.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone isn’t talking much about the series either, not even after his Gin Kings pulled off an 88-86 win that tied the series at 2-all last Friday in a game marked with interesting highlights.
For instance, the Gin Kings won the game despite import Justin Brownlee scoring a conference-low 10 points, and it was their locals -- namely Japeth Aguilar, L.A. Tenorio and Jayjay Helterbrand -- who delivered the goods.
Aguilar scored 19 points, Tenorio added 11 and Helterbrand 10, including a booming triple late in the game, helping Ginebra avoid falling to 1-3 hole.
“Well, that was a story book thing with Mark (Caguioa) and JJ (Helterbrand) doing that. Jayjay got out there and played with so much energy, Mark with so much energy,” said Cone after the Gin Kings did a great escape before roaring 17,878-strong fans at the Big Dome.
“Great players, they make up for lousy coaching. They came out, made some pretty good things and saved this series,” added Cone, who is looking for his first title with the Gin Kings.
The Bolts got 35 points from Allen Durham and only rookie of the year awardee Chris Newsome managed to score in double-digit, yet they had good account in the game.
In fact, the Bolts managed to wipe out a 15-point deficit in the first half, and even enjoyed double-digit lead in the third, before the two protagonists battled in a close encounter in the fourth period.
“The series has been very competitive so we expect another tough game with Ginebra,” said Black, who is looking to steer the Bolts to their first title since joining the league in 2010.
Black and Cone are meeting for the first time in three years, or since their previous teams (the former then handling Talk ‘N Text and the latter San Mig Coffee) met in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
The Gin Kings, on the other hand, are looking for their first title in nine years, or since winning the Fiesta Conference under coach Jong Uichico.
Meanwhile, the PBA may cancel the game, depending on the weather condition.
“We are currently keeping track of tropical storm Karen. Sunday’s game can and will be cancelled in the event that it (storm) intensifies,” said PBA external affairs director Willie Marcial.
Marcial added that the league will hand down its decision whether to cancel it or not today.
As of 12 p.m. yesterday, typhoon Karen was spotted at about 95 kilometers away from Virac, Catanduanes and packing winds with velocity reaching to 130 kph, and moving at 17 kph.