Aug 07, 2018

Ginebra determined to end series in Game Six

The Barangay Ginebra team that has been pretty solid in the last two games - relentless in Game Four and resilient in Game Five - goes for the jugular against embattled titleholder San Miguel Beer Wednesday, taking the first of its two shots at nailing the PBA Commissioner's Cup crown at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

A victory by the Gin Kings in Game Six of the best-of-seven title playoff will effectively end the Beermen's perfect ride (six-of-six) in PBA finals in the last four years and stretch Ginebra's own unbeaten run to three in the last six conferences.

Tip off is at 7 p.m. with Ginebra's diehards expected to throng to the MOA Arena to rally the Kings to repel an expected tough, tough challenge by June Mar Fajardo and his teammates.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone said they don't want to go to Game Seven and they don't want to play San Miguel in a winner-take-all match.

The Kings took the pivotal 3-2 lead in the series on their 130-100 rout in Game Four and an 87-83 grind-out victory in Game Five.

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San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria and his troops, however, are not about to quit, hopeful they can force a rubber match and salvage another crown in addition to their Philippine Cup fourth-peat and their Governors Cup title reign in 2015.

But Cone insists they will do their best not to prolong the series.

"Obviously, we don't want to go to Game Seven with San Miguel Beer. They're too explosive. Any given night, they can put in a hundred points," said Cone.

"Dapat kunin na namin sa Game Six, mahirap kalaban 'yan sa Game Seven," said Ginebra ace playmaker LA Tenorio.

The Kings, however, do expect a tough, tough resistance from the defending champs.

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"It's do or die for them so they will bring it all," said Cone.

And that's really San Miguel's mindset going to the game.

"We don't need to wait another conference to get to the finals. We're still here, needing to win two games to defend our title, and I think we're capable of doing it," said Austria.

Austria was convinced "50-50 calls" late in Game Five went to Ginebra, but he said they have to move on and be ready to play their best in Game Six.

"The breaks didn't go our way. The last possession went to the other side. But it's beyond our control. There was a lot of banging inside and fouls were not called. But it's basketball. We have to accept it, move forward and stay positive," said Austria.

He said they have to will themselves to win Game Six so as not to blow away all the tough efforts they have done in the last three months.

"It's just two games. We've struggled from the start of the elims, made the playoffs and we're able to beat TNT KaTropa and Alaska Milk. The chance is still there, and we have to go for it," he said.

"They beat us in Game One but we beat them in Games Two and Three. They beat us two in a row, but maybe it's our turn to have another back-to-back wins," he added.(SB)