Gin Kings take first of two closeout chances

Chris Banchero(with ball) and
the Bolts hope
to hold on better
to lead this time
around. —PBA

Chris Banchero (with ball) and the Bolts hope to hold on better to lead this time around. —PBA IMAGES

Barangay Ginebra has won two straight games against Meralco in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series, and the crowd darlings intend to keep their streaking ways knowing all too well what lies beyond.

The Gin Kings take the first of their two chances to forge a championship duel with its mighty corporate sibling, defending champion San Miguel, when they try to finish off the Bolts in Game 6 this Wednesday 7:30 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone, in jest, had since extended his apologies to the league’s fans in Batangas City where the series finalé will be played should the duel go to the distance.

“That’s not something we’d worry about, certainly not something we want to think about,” he said. “[But] if we have to go through a Game 7, then we’ll try to do the best we can to make it as smooth as we can in terms of getting there, getting prepared, understanding the gym and doing what needs to be done.”

Meralco, meanwhile, is eager to make such a scenario happen with coach Luigi Trillo hardly showing a dip in confidence even after fumbling yet another chance to regain control of the series.

Not easy

“It’s not over,” he said. “We knew from the start this was not going to be easy. … This [predicament] is painful, but it’s not over.”

The Bolts were up by 15 until its offense—then led by Chris Banchero—sputtered when it mattered most.

Making Sunday’s loss even more stinging is the fact that Meralco was once up in this showdown two games to one, and could’ve easily buried their perennial tormentors into a tough, 3-1 hole last Friday.

Tall odds await Meralco as history has not exactly favored the franchise whenever it plays Barangay Ginebra.

Of the seven playoff encounters against Cone and his charges, the Bolts have only won once, which was during the Philippine Cup two years ago.

But Trillo is steadfast in his belief that his charges will prevail.“We believe in our guys. We will bounce back,” he said. INQ

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