Gin Kings back in PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals
He is also excited not only because he is in another title series, but because they will face San Miguel Beer, which he described as possibly the “greatest team of all time.”
Only Cone can talk with such confidence, as most teams in the field don’t want to have anything to do with the Beermen.
“Of all the teams in the league, we have probably the best match-up to San Miguel,” Cone said after a 96-94 decision of the Elasto Painters at Smart Araneta Coliseum that sewed up their semifinal series, 3-1.
“I’m just so relieved that we don’t have to play a Game 5 against this team.”
But when discussions shifted to the best-of-seven series with the Beermen, Cone’s eyes lit up.
“We’re happy to play San Miguel because you want a challenge,” Cone said.
The Gin Kings labored against the Painters, who trailed by twin digits several times in the first three periods.
Rain or Shine even led, 90-88, with under three minutes left after a Gabe Norwood jumper inside the paint. But experience prevailed in the end and the league will have two finalists that started the tournament at the bottom of the standings.
Ginebra started out 1-5 and needed to sign up Justin Brownlee midstream before winning eight straight games and closing this series out.
San Miguel also opened up with three straight losses and needed an import change—from Troy Gillenwater to Renaldo Balkman—shortly after that.
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series will be played Friday also at the Big Dome.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine may represent the Philippines in the Asian Games next month in lieu of the 10 Gilas Pilipinas players banned by Fiba (international basketball federation).
Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial said it is almost a done deal, with the team’s schedule in the season-ending Governors’ Cup to be altered to squeeze in the Asiad campaign.
Yeng Guiao, Rain or Shine’s former coach, will likely coach the Painters.
But Rain or Shine cannot take players from other PBA teams with the Governors’ Cup going on.
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