Ev­ery­one is a Gine­bra ri­val

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - SEV SARMENTA

Gine­bra coach Tim Cone is al­ways vis­i­bly re­lieved when his team ends a se­ries on a vic­to­ri­ous note. Be­cause of what coaches in­vest in terms of time, think­ing and teach­ing, noth­ing is more sat­is­fy­ing than achiev­ing goals.

But there’s still a finals to be played. Mer­alco, the Kings’ Finals foe in the same con­fer­ence a year ago, has been al­ready wait­ing for the re­match these last few days.

The Bolts swept Star in three games, by no means an easy tri­umph given that the Hot­shots were on the doorstep of a Game One win. But the Bolts are the come­back kids of the con­fer­ence and just as they did against San Miguel at the end of the elim­i­na­tion round and against Black­wa­ter in the quar­ter­fi­nals, they just roared back and won Game 1 and the se­ries. And now the stage is set. Cone put it suc­cinctly when he said in the post-game chat with the press last Sun­day, “ev­ery­one’s a ri­val of Gine­bra.”

With tra­di­tion and thou­sands of fans con­nect­ing past and the present Gine­bra gen­er­a­tions, the team is both a joy to play against and a headache for op­pos­ing teams in any venue.

This Gine­bra-ver­sus-the- world re­al­ity was so ev­i­dent, es­pe­cially af­ter the rough and tum­ble Game 3 of the semi­fi­nals against TNT KaTropa. We all know that there was a half­time ex­change of heated words in the hall­way of Smart Araneta Coli­seum where teams exit to for the locker rooms.

Thank­fully, a steel fence sep­a­rates pro­tag­o­nists and it helped pre­vent pas­sions from be­ing turned into blows.

The fans on so­cial me­dia were not yet done, though. There were tweets and counter tweets on how of­fi­ci­at­ing went. The ex­changes were get­ting nasty and per­sonal and thank­fully, the 140-char­ac­ter limit of Twit­ter pre­vented any ex­ces­sive barbs. Talk of a dig­i­tal fence!

It’s per­fectly all right to ex­press opin­ions about the games and their par­tic­i­pants. But some de­gree of deco­rum is still in or­der no mat­ter how pas­sion­ate fans are—not only for Gine­bra but for the other teams as well. Opin­ions are most wel­come and are an es­sen­tial part of the sports ex­pe­ri­ence but one must stay calm while en­joy­ing the games.

Tim Cone has been on both sides of the war zone, as a one­time fierce ri­val of Gine­bra as Alaska and San Miguel Cof­fee coach. Now, he’s on the Gine­bra side. And their ri­vals want to beat them each time, which makes for great games.

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