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Saturday, April 20, 2024

History galore in PBA Finals

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BARANGAY Ginebra is chasing history.  The Dragons of Hong Kong are trying to make history.  And San Miguel Beer is ruing history.

That pretty much describes the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup that is now chugging its Finals showdown pitting Ginebra against Hong Kong.

If he wins a record-extending 25th PBA title, Ginebra’s Tim Cone can become the first coach to foil an invader’s bid to capture a PBA trophy.

Likewise, another Cone crown can deflect another foreigner’s victory achieved 42 years ago.

It was in 1980 that Nicholas Stoodley, a French fashion apparel brand from the US, became the first foreign team to win a PBA championship, scoring a 2-0 sweep of the defunct Toyota Tamaraws in the PBA Invitational best-of-three series at the then Araneta Coliseum.

The Fashionmakers’ victory ended the Toyota Tamaraws’ three-year reign as Invitational champion that began in 1977.  The late Fortunato Acuna was the losing Toyota coach in 1980 after piloting the Tamaraws to victories in the same conference in 1978 against Tanduay and in 1979 against archrival Crispa.

Not long after the loss to Nicholas Stoodley, Acuna committed suicide by drinking poison.

The Dragons are expected to fight furiously today (Wednesday) as they are in a bounce-back mode after dropping a humiliating 96-81 Game One loss last Sunday in their best-of-seven series against the Gin Kings at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

“The ball is in our court so we got to get better for the second game,” said Hong Kong’s Brian Goorjan, the bronze-winning Olympic coach of Australia.  â€śWe got pretty well manhandled [in Game One].”

So tightly guarded were the Dragons that they could only eke out a 30-of-78 for a languid 38 percent shooting from the field as against the Kings’ 38-of-76 tries for a high of 50 percent.

“We won’t allow the Gin Kings to get away with murder again,” said the history-seeking Goorjan, who is aiming to become only the second foreigner to win a PBA title coaching an alien team.

While 6-foot-6 import Justin Brownlee dished out his usual deadly form that produced 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 13 rebounds and 6 assists on Sunday, ageless LA Tenorio deserves credit, too, with his all-around play in manufacturing 22 points to emerge the game’s most valuable player.

And why is SMB in lament mode?

Well, in getting themselves ousted in the semifinals—by the Dragons—the Beermen lost another crack at the coveted Grand Slam for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

For, by winning the first conference five straight years from 2015 and then early this year, they failed to collar a three-crown jewel each time despite practically having enough tools to do it.

Slam honors just simply too elusive for Leo Austria, who has won 8-of-9 title tries thus far as SMB coach.  Tough luck.

THAT’S IT   Is it true that my kumpadre Noli Eala will be replaced by Dino Aldeguer, the former La Salle point guard whose Hail Mary shot won for the Archers the 1999 University Athletic Association of the Philippines crown over University of Santo Tomas, as chair of the Philippine Sports Commissioner any day now?  Why so soon?  Wasn’t Eala, a former PBA Commissioner, appointed only last August 30? Anyare?…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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