SMART Clark Giga City - This unique bubble tourney deserves a classic finish, and Barangay Ginebra and Meralco provide some amount of it in their side of the battle in a double knockout to culminate Final Four rumble here Friday night.
The Kings and the Bolts put a new leaf in their rivalry as they slug it out in the decider of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-five semifinal faceoff at the AUF Sports Center Powered by Smart 5G.
Will the Kings hold on to the rein and keep their reign in the rivalry? Or are the Bolts ready to spring out of the shadow and make a breakthrough stint in the all-Filipino finals?
Both are expected to gut it out in their 6:30 p.m. tussle, with the winner advancing to the best-of-seven finale versus the victor in the TNT Tropang Giga-Phoenix Super LPG rubber.
Down to the wire of their bubble stint, the Bolts ducked a potential killer blow from the Kings on a series of clutch plays in the dying seconds Wednesday and thus sent their semis rivals to a winner-take-all.
Staring at a 1-2 series deficit before Game Four, the Bolts would need to repeat their quarterfinals feat versus fourth seed San Miguel Beer (with its twice-to-beat advantage) to move on.
"Just like in our battle with San Miguel, we have to win two games to move to the next stage. We're halfway through," said coach Norman Black, sounding without a doubt his troops would push their drive to get to the Last Dance party.
But standing in the way is their old rival with great success in their Governors' Cup title showdowns.
The Bolts are hoping to change the storyline in this all-Filipino do-or-die.
Being the underdogs, Black said they have to dig deep and summon all the strength and energy that they have to beat the Gin Kings.
Black said it would help a great deal if all their guys do their task that they have to do.
Meanwhile, the Kings, coming up short in their 80-83 loss Wednesday, go for it the second time, chasing a shot at the only crown they haven't won in 12 years.
Ginebra has been Philippine Cup titlist thrice but hasn't won it since its title run in 2007. (SB)