Which way to Game 7?
Coach Tim Cone promptly pointed to their rhythm, which he found great, as the big factor that pushed Barangay Ginebra to grab a crucial 2-1 edge in the PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven crown series.
Before that, Cone loved to say there was only one route the title series would take: all the way to a deciding seventh game.
But an accident in the first six minutes of Game 3 led to Ginebra exploding and sailing to that series lead, practically trouble-free, against Meralco on Sunday.
Sorry, but the road to the championship has also appeared snapped, shortened.
Coach Cone didn’t have to revisit the statistics to admit how seriously the fall of towering strongman Raymond Almazan has jammed the traffic to the dream Game 7 of the Governors’ Cup in favor of his team.
Almazan’s absence was hard to properly evaluate.
Cone himself admitted the Almazan factor to be vast, very vast.
Coach Norman Black of Meralco, on the other hand, readily claimed the Almazan crash has practically sapped the Bolts of power on both ends, while feeding the Gin Kings with bigger possibilities.
Almazan had been quietly gigantic all over the playing court.
Coach Black said Almazan, who was rushed to Makati Medical Center for an MRI, was still in pain on Tuesday.
There’s only a slim chance of Almazan seeing action in Game 4 at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
“It will be a game-time decision,” Black was quoted as saying by CNN’s “Sports Desk.”As things stand, Meralco cannot hope for a fitting substitute, although they have at least two big standby soldiers on the bench.
There’s also the hope of Meralco doing a repeat of the Game 2 scoring feast that saw the Bolts stunning Ginebra with a total of 16 3-pointers.
It’s a must for beleaguered Meralco to stand tall and outdo itself if it hopes to even up today.
Meralco, no doubt, will put up a very determined fight.
It would be a terrible blow to the PBA, at the peak of reinventing itself, if Meralco succumbs without spewing fire in Game 4.
Game 3 lured as many as 16,000 fans on Sunday, and the PBA has scheduled games in the vast Philippine Arena for then very possible Games 6 and 7 of the Governors’ Cup crown series. INQ
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