Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. — San Miguel vs Ginebra
5:45 p.m. — Meralco vs TNT

REIGNING champion Barangay Ginebra shoots for the kill against San Miguel Beer (SMB) while Talk ‘N Text and Meralco break a deadlock in its own duel as the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals close in on a climax at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.

Up big with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Final Four series, the Gin Kings march into battle at 3 p.m. with a clear goal of finishing off their sibling rivals for a finals return trip followed by the Tropang Giga-Bolts set at 5:45 p.m. to shatter a 1-1 tie.

A win for Ginebra would also pave the way for a second straight finals appearance in three conferences after winning the historic Commissioner’s Cup earlier this year against guest team Bay Area Dragons — in front of a record 54,589 fans at the Philippine Arena.

Sweeping the powerhouse SMB, albeit without six-time June Mar Fajardo, however, would be an entirely different and a steeper mountain to scale for the Gin Kings.

“When you’re gonna play a good team like San Miguel, it’s nearly impossible to beat them three straight times. We’re gonna try to do the impossible,” said coach Tim Cone as the Beermen have yet to absorb a 0-3 sweep in 26 best-of-five battles in PBA history.

The Gin Kings sure seemed so capable of the feat, dominating their sister team with big wins in Game 1, 121-112, and Game 2, 121-103. But aside from SMB’s anticipated revenge, Ginebra braces for complacency.

“It’s a short series so if you can get two, it’s really key but it’s really hard to do. You start looking for that sweep with this kind of lead and then you open yourself up to be kampante (complacent). If you do that against a team like this then you’re in big trouble,” warned Mr. Cone.

That is the exact thing the Beermen are hoping to capitalize paired with its urgency to live another day and extend the series.

“Ginebra has to win three games to enter the finals and it’s only two. As long as there is a chance, it’s my job to put us into a position to get one (first) in Game 3,” said coach Jorge Gallent.

“We have to think of Game 3 only. We have to win Game 3 and put our mindset that we’re not on vacation yet.”

Meralco, meanwhile, is out to ride on a sizzling momentum of a tight 124-117 overtime in Game 2 to avoid a 0-2 hole for a good position now to overtake the top-seeded TNT, which took a commanding 110-80 Game 1 victory.

“Every game’s gonna be tough for us. This is only their second loss in this conference. It’s not going to be easy. Every game is gonna be competitive,” said coach Norman Black. — John Bryan Ulanday