Closing out is hard to do | Inquirer Sports

Closing out is hard to do

It’s ‘harder than a Game 7,’ says Cone as Gin Kings eye end to eight-year championship drought today
By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 12:16 AM October 19, 2016

GINEBRA VS MERALCO_9184 Justin BrownleeWith the gin—err, the bubbly—chilled, the balloons now hanging from the rafters and championship shirts ready to be given away, Barangay Ginebra tries to snap an eight-year trophy-less spell and ignite a celebration like no other when the Gin Kings go for the PBA Governors’ Cup championship tonight at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Kings will try to finish off the hard-fighting Meralco Bolts in the 7 p.m. contest and write the perfect ending to an overachieving campaign that would have Ginebra winning it all even with its cornerstone, the 7-foot Greg Slaughter, playing just one game in the season-closing conference.

And coach Tim Cone, a veteran of so many battles, knows that his wards will be playing their toughest game yet, giving the impression that the sixth game is Ginebra’s Game 7 of the series.


“Closing out a series is the hardest thing to do, it’s even harder than a Game 7,” Cone said after a 92-81 Game 5 win on Sunday night, the most lopsided in the very close series.


The series has been nothing short of a blockbuster success, with more than 22,000 in attendance on Sunday night and thousands more turned away, giving Ginebra, hands-down the land’s darling team, even more motivation to get the job done today.

“We know how the fans feel and how they have stuck to us through thick and thin,” Cone told the Inquirer. “We are doing this for them and it gives the players more reason to give it their best.”

Ginebra’s last championship came in the 2008 Fiesta Conference when Chris Alexander, a talented 7-foot NBA veteran, helped them come back from

2-3 down to snatch the title from under the noses of the defunct Air21 Express.

They won the last two games of that title series by an average of nine points.

“We’re ready, definitely,” LA Tenorio, Ginebra’s floor leader whose personal championship drought also dates back to the 2010 Fiesta Conference with Alaska. “We know that it will be hard, but we will definitely go all out.”


All-out has been the trump card of Ginebra’s existence, but the Kings have found out that they are basically playing in front of a mirror, with the Bolts proving to be tough nuts to crack.

“It ain’t over yet,” Meralco’s Norman Black assured media on Sunday night after narrowly failing to complete a comeback from 21 points down in the first half of Game 5. “We need to play a lot better than we did tonight.

“We played poorly all game,” Black said when asked if a bum start in the previous game did them in. “We also have to get everyone involved and not rely too much on Allen (Durham).”

Ginebra bodied up on Durham all game long and held him to a series-low 20 points.

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“That was pretty much our demise,” Black said.

TAGS: Baranga Ginebra Kings, Basketball, Meralco Bolts, PBA Governors’ Cup championship

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