By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FIGHTING in a Philippine Basketball Association finals for the third time in the last four years, the Meralco Bolts and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings are not putting much on talk and instead are bent on letting their game speak for themselves when their best-of-seven championship series rolls off tomorrow.
In the finals of the season-ending PBA tournament Governors’ Cup for a third time, the Bolts and Kings have expressed their determination to see their respective causes through and put the finishing touches on what has been a solid run for them in the conference.
Lost in their first two finals encounters with the Kings — 2016 and 2017 — the Bolts are not letting the thought consume them and are now concentrating at the task at hand.
“We are out to win just like they are. We want to win the championship. We have had a good conference. We tell the players that if you want to win the championship you have to play good basketball. Offensively and defensively we have to be prepared,” said Meralco coach Norman Black at the press conference for the finals at the weekend at a restaurant in Quezon City.
“I can’t worry about the past because it’s over and done with but I can worry about the future and concentrate on the task at hand and win the championship,” he added.
The Bolts were the second-seeded team entering the playoffs with a record of 8-3. They eliminated the Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals, seeing no need to use their twice-to-beat advantage. In the semifinals, Meralco was challenged by the TNT KaTropa but eventually outlasted the latter in five games.
Over at the Kings’ camp, the team is also all on playing the best basketball they can so as to return to the top of the Governors’ Cup after missing out on a third straight title in the tournament last season.
“It is just all about playing great basketball. That as coaches is what we are trying to preach. Meralco is the best defensive team this conference and best rebounding team. Those are some of the things we are trying to figure out,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
The Kings’ coach also underscored that apart from the Bolts having an amped-up roster from those they encountered previously in the finals, they are going up against a highly motivated squad with their chops sharpened on the road to the finals.
“They went through Talk N Text and that really toughened them. They are hungry after losing our first two encounters in the finals and we’ll just have to do our best [against that],” Mr. Cone added.
The Kings was the number four team at the end of the elimination round before ousting the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen in the quarterfinals. They started on the wrong foot in their best-of-five semifinals with the Northport Batang Pier but finished strong as the series progressed, closing things in four games.
Game One of the PBA Governors Cup finals is set for 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.