ENDING the 13-year title-drought in the Philippine Cup will be the mission of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings when they try to finish off the embattled TNT Tropang Giga in Game Five of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday night at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, a veteran of many championship wars in Asias’s first-ever pro league, know so well that closing out a team like the powerhouse TNT will be a tough job.
The Gin Kings posted a commanding 3-1 lead after a 98-88 Game 4 win last Sunday night that put them one win away of that coveted Philippine Cup title that they last won in 2007.
“I thought we played well tonight I thought we want to carry that over into the next game,” said Tim Cone after Game Four.
Even veteran point guard LA Tenorio, who carried the Gin Kings with clutch buckets in Game 4, believed that finishing off a deadly opponent is the toughest part of the championship series.
“Closing the series is the hardest, I;ve been in these kinds of situation in my career,” he said.
But Tenorio vowed to give all he got in Game Five as they don’t want to give the deadly TNT the momentum that could change the tide around
“Alam ko maraming teams and nakabalik sa 3-1 deficit, it’s gonna be really hard but of course we don’t want to give them a win next game. Because it’s going to be really hard if makabalik sila series,” stressed the 14-year veteran.
Tenorio said that they can’t afford to play catch up again like what they did in the first two games, where they came to stage a gallant fightback to be able to steal the game from TNT.
Tim Cone believed that they played their finest basketball inside the PBA “bubble” in Game.
I believe we have played our best game in the whole bubble,” he said. “But even we played our best we barely beat TNT, and just show how good they are and how well coached they are.”
TNT hobbled with injuries in their seven-game slugfest as Ray Parks Jr. is still recovering from a left calf strain he sustained in Game One. The scoring guard did not play in the next four games.
The injury problem piled up for the Tropang Giga when veteran Jayson Castro aggravated a knee issue in Game 4. The ace guard went down with 9:35 left in the third canto.
He drove to the hoop and dropped the ball to Poy Erram for a layup, but was slow to get up after the play. Castro needed help to get back to the bench. He did not return to the game. It remains to be seen if Parks and Castro will play in the all-important Game 5.
For Ginebra they will have the likes of Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, Prince Caperal, Jeff Chan and Jared Dillenger.