Ginebra-Star a tossup | Inquirer Sports

Ginebra-Star a tossup

Gin Kings tangle with Hotshots in deciding Game 7 of Final Four series
By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 02:56 AM February 21, 2017

Ginebra's Jervy Cruz. PBA IMAGES

Ginebra’s Jervy Cruz. PBA IMAGES

With his vast experience—and fairly respectable success rate—in Game 7s, Tim Cone is not about to grab the credit for steering Barangay Ginebra this far in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.

He’s making it clear for everyone that players will get all the praise after this one—no matter who makes it out standing.


The Gin Kings clash with equally popular Star in the decider of their Final Four series and Cone practically said on Sunday night that: “I don’t think there’s much coaching. Game 7 is always a players’ game.


“It sounds cliché, but that’s the absolute truth,” said the two-time Grand Slam winner, who has an 8-6 record in Game 7s, the best record by any coach in the league.
“It is the best two words in sports, but it’s a 50-50 game from where I see it.”

Chito Victolero will be on the opposite side of the floor coaching against Cone, and if the young mentor wants a baptism of fire, then he can’t get one any better than this as he goes up against the master of masters.

Cone has won his last two and four of the last five Game 7s he’s coached.

“If anyone has an advantage, I think they do,” Cone said when pressed if he has an edge over Victolero in terms of coaching in a Game 7, deflecting focus on the teams and not on them.
“It’s been my experience that winners of Game 6 expend so much energy. We need to find out if we still have gas in the tank [for Game 7],” Cone added.

Ginebra is seeking to win a second straight title after ruling the Governors’ Cup last season, and very few have given the Kings the chance to go this deep, especially with 7-foot franchise player Greg Slaughter recovering from knee surgery.

But Cone has worked his magic all conference long and attributed their success to the will of his charges.


“[The] guys showed resilience and great resolve the whole conference, coming from a championship,” Cone said. “We could have quit, but they found a way to keep battling.”

Star didn’t expend much energy in Game 6, but the Hotshots will be coming off one of their worst games in the series.
Cone, though, knows that Victolero did get the chance to rest his aces in the stretch to prepare for the 7 p.m. game at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Paul Lee has been limited by the Ginebra defense in the most important games of the series, shooting just nine points in 31 minutes.

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He was the hero in Games 1 and 2 and needs to extricate himself if the Hotshots want to thwart the Gin Kings and return to a title series for the first time since Cone left them for Ginebra more than a season ago.

TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, Basketball, PBA Philippine Cup

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