Battle for crucial 3  to 2 series advantage pits Gin Kings against Bolts

May 27, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – The ongoing playoff match between Ginebra and Meralco is becoming a war of attrition in the vein of their long-standing rivalry.

In Game Five of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal matchup, which is tied after four games, the Kings and the Bolts battle it out in an extremely important match at the MOA Arena in Pasay City on Sunday.

The winner would have two chances to finish the series and a chance to face the defending champion and top-seeded team in the playoffs, San Miguel Beer, so it could be a razor-thin contest.

The Beermen have some downtime before making their Last Dance against either the Gin Kings or the Bolts after sweeping Rain or Shine in four games in the other semifinal matchup.

In the meantime, Ginebra and Meralco are engaged in another lengthy, intense battle characterized by erratic momentum swings and a constant battle of adjustments between the opposing teams’ think tanks.

Los Angeles Tenorio and Stanley Pringle were selected to start and play significant roles in the last game by coach Tim Cone, who had been defeated in Games Two and Three.

After both players gave their yes answers, the Kings easily defeated them 90–71 to force the series to restart.

Cone, who called their performance in Game Three “terrible,” stated, “As bad as we performed last match, which is we played exceptionally well in this game (the HBO show Game Four), because the energy seemed so much better.”

“We started differently. We absolutely brought in LA and Stanley (Pringle) in order to provide us with veteran leadership and to assist in getting our execution going. And they really embraced. They gave us a good start as well as provided an opportunity to rest some human beings,” he said.

Of course, the onus of adjustment now rests with the other side. For head coach Luigi Trillo, the focus now is being prepared to fight through a protracted series.

He claimed to be confident that neither Ginebra nor the Bolts would declare themselves dead.

Ginebra rallies to defeat Meralco and grab a 3-2 lead in the semifinals.

In Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday night, Barangay Ginebra triumphed against Meralco, 89-84, by overcoming several obstacles.

The fan favorites, who had a disastrous game at Mall of Asia Arena, rallied from a 15-point deficit to win the best-of-seven series 3-2 against the Bolts, who have always been their rivals in championship games.

“Now that we’re looking well. We were down 2-1 and coming off two losses when things didn’t seem bright for us two games ago. I must commend the boys for their perseverance, forging on, moving on, and managing to grind out two victories. Soon after the game, head coach Tim Cone remarked, “Tonight was such a grind-out win.”

A symbol of Ginebra’s perseverance, Christian Standhardinger scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Japeth Aguilar had a double-double of 10 and 12, with equal effectiveness in the paint.

Despite scoring just seven points in Game 4, Maverick Ahanmisi contributed thirteen points off the bench. In the closing moments, he delivered two clutch plays that sealed the victory for the highly anticipated team, who had an advantage in terms of historical background.

According to the league’s senior statistician Fidel Mangonon III, forty-seven of the sixty-two teams who prevailed in Game 5 of a best-of-seven series went on to win the series or the championship, and nineteen of those winning teams occurred in the past ten years.

With one more victory, Ginebra will make its third straight trip to the PBA Finals in the last four competitions.

The well-known ball club last participated in the crown jewel event during the 2020 edition, which was hosted in Pampanga province at the height of the coronavirus outbreak and took place within the “bubble,” a biosecure setting.

In the Bolts’ embarrassing collapse, Chris Banchero scored eighteen points, Chris Newsome scored seventeen, while Chris Hodge and Allein Maliksi each scored at least thirteen.

This Wednesday, when the PBA returns to Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Cone and his team will have the opportunity to complete the series.

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