Chill the gin | Inquirer Sports

Chill the gin

Starting out hot and holding fort in the stretch, Gin Kings are a win away from celebrating a championship like no other
/ 04:05 AM December 07, 2020

Japeth Aguilar scores unmolested early in Game4. —PHOTO COURTESY OF PBA IMAGES

Prepare the banners, print the shirts and chill the booze, for after another masterful endgame performance that has been Barangay Ginebra’s trump card in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs in this most unusual season, the Gin Kings have moved within another victory of celebrating a first all-Filipino crown in more than a decade.

Coming close to blowing a 17-point lead and dragged into a tight homestretch by a badly crippled TNT side that simply refused to die, the Kings did the things they needed to on both ends to carve out a 98-88 victory for a commanding 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven series that now points to Ginebra snapping a drought in this tournament that dates back to 2007.“I really believe we played the best game in the bubble tonight,” coach Tim Cone told reporters later. “And even though we played the best game in the bubble, it was barely enough to beat TNT. It just goes to show how good they are, how well-coached they are.”


The Tropang Giga played for the third straight game without the prolific Bobby Ray Parks and then lost franchise player Jayson Castro to a leg injury early in the third period and things now look gloomy for this team that was tipped capable of unseating five-time defending champion San Miguel Beer but has its hands full against the Kings.


“Those are two big losses for them,” Cone said of TNT being without Parks and later on Castro, who is feared to be suffering from bone spurs in the left knee. “They’re down a couple of really, really good players. When Jayson went out of the game, that pretty much changed the complexion of the game.”

Ginebra established its character early—performing in a way that was a far departure from a lethargic Game 3 effort—to erect several commanding leads only to look like one lost lot for majority of the fourth period.

LA Tenorio hit two crucial triples heading into the final two minutes to stem the tide created by RR Pogoy on the other end, as the Kings were finally able to let out a sigh of relief and will exhaust the first of three chances they have of wrapping this up on Wednesday also at Angeles University Foundation powered by Smart 5G.

“Those were cold-­blooded. Those two shots that LA took were cold-blooded,” Cone said with absolute pride of his veteran point guard.

Jong Uichico was the coach of the last Ginebra team that won the AFC, while Cone, who is shooting to win a 23rd title in his 35th Finals appearance, won his last one while calling the shots for the formidable B-Meg team that completed a Triple Crown sweep in 2014.“This is really our best game of the series thus far, and our best of the conference,” Cone went on as he and his charges prepare to put the finishing touches to the Tropang Giga crew and ignite a celebration like no other. INQ

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TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, Basketball, PBA, Sports

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