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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Ginebra goes for clincher

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THERE are two questions worth pondering on in Wednesday’s Game 6 between Barangay Ginebra and Bay Area.

One, will the visitors from Hong Kong suddenly appear with a complete line-up after their decimated ranks got bulldozed in that 101-91 Game 5 loss on Sunday?

Two, whether or not a full player rotation materializes for the Bay Area side, will Ginebra come up with the same goods it dished off three days ago to erect a 3-2 edge in their best-of-seven series for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup trophy?

In last Sunday’s loss that pushed Hong Kong on cliff’s edge, the Dragons’ 1-2 punch, 6-foot-10 Andrew Nicholson and team captain Glen Yang, were out on ankle injuries.

Both stars, easily combining for 50 points a game, remain doubtful starters today, although Nicholson could be a surprise resurrection after a week of rest following the injury he suffered in the Game 3 thriller that saw Ginebra steal an 89-82 win for a 2-1 series margin.

But the Nicholson-less Dragons dug deep a day later to produce a 94-86 win, tying the Finals at 2-2 despite a triple-double of 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists from Gin King import Justin Brownlee before 17,236 fans at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

So, who could have thought Ginebra would so easily nab Game 5 and stood a step away from coach Tim Cone’s record-extending 25th PBA title?

It would be do-or-die for Hong Kong at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao where Game 6 begins at 5:45 p.m.

And, in desperation, will Dragon coach Brian Goorjian do the supreme sacrifice of fielding in Nicholson and Yang, in the process putting in jeopardy the future careers of his two mainstays?

“We will roll the dice,” Goorjian said. “I’m putting 50-50 in Nicholson’s chances of playing.”

A bold one.

But this one could be bolder.

“I’m putting 75-25 on Yang,” said the wily mentor, who gave Australia an Olympic basketball bronze.

But with or without Nicholson and Yang, Cone should know what to do:  Continue executing his lethal play of attacking at every opportunity, backing it up with a choking defense and, after building a sizable lead, employing his new-found slow break offense to milk the clock.

Cone will miss the services of the injured LA Tenorio?

No worries.  Stanley Pringle has rediscovered his poise.

THAT’S IT   Congratulations to Mark Jay Bacojo, Ayana Nicole Usman and Alexandra Sydney Paez for bannering the Philippines to the Team Championship in the just-ended Hong Kong Bauhinia Chess tournament, beating entries from South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and host Hong Kong in the event that featured entries aged 18 and below.  Cheers!…A win for Ginebra today will surely be the most meaningful birthday gift for San Miguel Corp. top honcho Ramon S. Ang, the Gin Kings owner who celebrates on January 14.  Cheers!

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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