PBA: Tim Cone’s Game 7 experience gives Ginebra slight edge

Tim Cone’s Game 7 experience gives Ginebra slight edge

SCHEDULE: PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals

Ginebra coach Tim Cone during a PBA Philippine Cup semifinals game against Meralco Bolts.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone during a PBA Philippine Cup semifinals game against Meralco Bolts. –PBA IMAGES

Coach Tim Cone had a few words to say about the disappointment of Barangay Ginebra’s predicament of having to play Meralco in a deciding Game 7 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals in San Jose, Batangas.

“Best two words in sports, Game 7. We’ll see,” Cone said as the Gin Kings hope to keep their coach’s streak in Game 7s intact on Friday at FPJ Arena, the winner setting up a championship showdown with the well-rested San Miguel Beermen.

Ginebra squandered its first crack at closing out Meralco after falling 86-81 two nights ago at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


READ: ‘Sana kami naman’: Meralco hopes to change the script vs Ginebra

But numbers have Cone at the advantage, with the two-time Grand Slam champion having won his last five Game 7s.

The first two was when he was still calling the shots for San Mig Super Coffee (now Magnolia), defeating Petron for the 2013 Governors’ Cup title and Ginebra in the 2014 Philippine Cup semifinals.

Cone’s next three were with Ginebra, including twice in 2017 at the expense of Star in the Philippine Cup semifinals and Meralco in the Governors’ Cup Finals at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.


READ: PBA: Allein Maliksi to apply Tim Cone teachings in Game 7 duel

January 2023 marked the Gin Kings’ last Game 7, prevailing over guest team Bay Area Dragons, also at Philippine Arena, to capture last season’s Commissioner’s Cup trophy.


The great mentor hasn’t lost a Game 7 since the 2012 Governors’ Cup Finals when B-Meg saw Rain or Shine win its first PBA championship.

Six straight losses

Eager to end Cone’s string of wins under that circumstance are the Bolts, who didn’t show any letdown despite blowing an 11-point lead early in Game 6 and falling behind by seven in the second quarter.

Meralco, which has lost six straight times to Ginebra in the playoffs before breaking that trend in the 2022 Philippine Cup quarterfinals with a hard-fought win in the deciding Game 3, vowed to give everything it can to also break its own struggles.

The Bolts have made the Philippine Cup semifinals the last four times, coming close twice in 2020 against Ginebra, losing a deciding Game 5, and in 2022 opposite San Miguel Beer after forcing a Game 7.

“It comes down to whoever wants to win, who will give their all,” Meralco’s Allein Maliksi said.

Advantage remains with the Gin Kings in terms of talent, which makes it all important for everyone on the Bolts to step up.

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“Everyone has to produce against Ginebra, not just one or two guys,” Maliksi also said. “We need to help each other because they’re a strong team with their lineup and their system.”

TAGS: GINEBRA, Meralco, PBA Philippine Cup, Tim Cone

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