Game 5 at PH Arena sets attendance record in PBA Finals game
BOCAUE — Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone has already been inside the colossal Philippine Arena twice before, but even in his third time coaching inside the world’s largest indoor arena, he still couldn’t help but be amazed with the size of the venue.
“Aren’t these facilities awesome? I mean, look at this room. It’s the best press room I’ve ever seen. You guys got to check out the locker rooms, the locker rooms are awesome. It’s a great facility and it’s nice,” Cone said.
Attracting 36,445 fans on Sunday for the all-important Game 5, the tussle between Ginebra and Meralco set the record for biggest attendance in a PBA Finals game.
“Man, we got 36,000 people and it still looked like it wasn’t full, did it? It’s incredible,” he said.
Like his coach, Justin Brownlee was also left in awe.
“I haven’t played in any other arena as big as this one. It just looks amazing. You see the crowd, they’re super excited. This stadium is the best I’ve seen, it’s truly a blessing to be here and play in front of the fans.”
The returning import was magnificent once again, pouring in 20 points on top of 12 rebounds, five assists, and three steals to help Ginebra take a 85-74 win over Meralco on Sunday.
Not only did the win put the Gin Kings on the brink of repeating as Governors’ Cup champions, but it also pushed the crowd favorite’s perfect record at the huge venue to 3-0.
“I don’t know but it’s a nice facility. We actually played well here as a group,” said Cone.
That’s exactly the challenge Meralco has to weather as it braces for a do-or-die tiff on Wednesday for Game 6.
Meralco coach Norman Black acknowledged the slight edge Ginebra with the Bolts playing in the venue for the first time. But he expects his wards not to be overwhelmed with the crowd next game and play to their potential, especially with their season on the line.
“Ginebra has played here before so they know pretty much what it feels like to play here in Philippine Arena. We never played here before so it’s new for us, but that’s no excuse. We’re professionals and we’re assigned to play in this gym so we just got to be our best,” he said.