The Oppo PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven finals series rematch between defending champion Barangay Ginebra and fierce nemesis Meralco has turned out to become a game of spurts.
Both teams have won back-to-back games that evened up the series to 2-2 before the Gin Kings went for broke with a dominant performance in Game five to grab the upper hand and move a win away from defending the crown.
Looking to win his 20th league championship and a second for Barangay Ginebra, head coach Tim Cone knows his team has to close out the series in Game Six, knowing Meralco is lokking for a big fightback.
“Not much to say at this point. Saying is a lot less important than the doing. Meralco has shown their ability to bounce back earlier in the series and we expect to see that in Game 6. We know we’ll have to scratch and claw to close this in 6. I believe we’re up for the challenge,” wrote Cone in a text message to InterAksyon.
The Gin Kings are willing to do whatever it takes to win even if the key players play extended minutes or no relief at all.
In Game 5, Justine Brownlee barely had a two-minute rest the entire match while LA Tenorio played more than 40 minutes while doing the quarterbacking chores for the Gin Kings.
Over at the Meralco side, Allen Durham nearly played 45 minutes. The reigning two-time Best Import, though, will need a lot of help in their hope of extending the series and setting a winner-take-all showdown.
Brownlee, who delivered the dagger three-pointer in last season’s emotional Game Six encounter, doesn’t mind playing the entire game and will do whatever it takes to help the Gin Kings in defending their crown.
“One more to go. Like coach said, I’m ready to play 48 minutes. Whatever it takes for Ginebra to win the championship,” Brownlee said.
Cone and Black are now aware that they need to rely on their key players heavily to achieve their respective goals.
“We extended LA today. He played the whole second half without a rest as well as Justine. What are we saving for? We got Monday and Tuesday before we plan on Wednesday. I told Justin, you’re not gonna sit down,” Cone said.
“We’ll do what it takes to win. I’m not sure if it would take the whole 48 minutes to play Durham, but we’ll do what it takes to win. We understand that the next game is do-or-die for us. If it takes for him to play that long, then I’ll do it,” Black said.