Ginebra, Meralco start Finals rematch
(Quezon Convention Center) 7 p.m. Barangay Ginebra vs Meralco
LUCENA – It’s going to be size versus versatility; of great imports ranged against each other; of brilliant Grand Slam-winning tacticians seeking to improve their legacies and of crowd-darlings going up against probably the most under-appreciated side in the PBA.
But no matter how one splices it, the best-of-seven series for the Governors’ Cup title promises to be the best one for the season, with Barangay Ginebra seeking to win a second title under Tim Cone and avoid needing a last-second three-pointer to do it.
And after taking what is the franchise’s bitterest defeat last season, Meralco feels that it has some unfinished business when it starts clashing with the Gin Kings in the 7 p.m. series opener at the Quezon Convention Center here, as Norman Black tries to fulfill a goal of putting a winning tradition in the latest stop of his storied coaching career.
“It’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be rough,” Cone, a two-time Grand Slam champion, said of the season-closing title series where the Kings are expected to ride their advantage in size all the way against an opponent he described with so much respect.
“We couldn’t have picked a higher quality opponent,” Cone went on. “They have all the bases covered. That’s the challenge for us there. We are bigger, yes, but they also have the size and the balance. They can play the pace they want to play.”
Meralco topped the elimination round and swept a formidable Star crew in the Final Four, giving the Bolts three days more rest than the Kings.
But Black was quick to dismiss the extra rest as a factor in this long series, and has instilled in his charges that, after making the Finals last year and failing to forge a Game 7 after Justin Brownlee hit a threepointer at the buzzer, only winning this one would complete their journey.
“We now have the experience,” Black, who completed a Triple Crown sweep with San Miguel in 1989 and won titles with defunct Sta. Lucia and Talk ‘N Text before taking this job at Meralco, said. “The next goal for us is to win the championship (this time).”