Since the PBA Governors Cup Finals began, I’ve heard comments from some basketball aficionados that the championship series would surely reach Game Seven because both squads are owned by San Miguel Corp.
Some say a Finals series that stretches to a full seven games would be “beneficial” for the pro league since more fans will come in to watch the game.
I don’t know about that, but I believe players from both Petron and San Mig are surely playing their hearts out, slugging it out every game to try to get the upper hand in the series, in the hope of emerging as the champion in the season-ending conference.
There’s diminutive San Mig point guard Mark Barroca bouncing back in the second half of Game Four despite playing with a swollen lip to help the Mixers score a nailbiting 88-86 win to tie the series at 2-all.
Barroca, who finished 12 points and five rebounds, was elbowed in Game Four by Petron import Elijah Millsap while trying to defend the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap.
The 5’10” Barroca came back with vengeance in Game Five, scoring 22 points and adding 10 assists in leading the Mixers to a 114-103 win and a 3-2 series lead.
Then there’s Petron playmaker Alex Cabagnot, who missed Games Three and Four due to a torn plantar fascia on his right foot. He did come back in Game Five and played 34 minutes, but it was obvious he wasn’t still 100 percent, finishing with just five points.
Come Wednesday, San Mig can close out the series with a victory over the talent-laden Petron and slay the ghost of last season’s Governors Cup Finals loss to eventual champion Rain or Shine.
Mixers forward Marc Pingris admitted that reaching the Finals is never easy, considering the slow start the team had during the conference.
Once the Playoffs began, San Mig had to beat Alaska in their quarterfinal knockout match to earn the right to face the vastly-improved Meraco Bolts. In the semis, the Mixers engaged the Bolts in a series of low-scoring games since both squads are known for their defensive approach.
San Mig went on to beat Meralco, 3-1 to reach the Finals phase.
On the other hand, the route was different for Petron Blaze, which whipped Barangay Ginebra, 101-94 after weathering a serious second half charge by the Gin Kings that had to play the final two quarters without injured star player Mark Caguioa.
Petron reached the semis, facing off with defending champion Rain or Shine, who lacked the size to match up with the taller Boosters, but still fought with a lot of heart.
The Boosters clinched the series, 3-1 with an emphatic 110-89 Game Four victory, putting an end to the E-Painters’ title-retention bid.
I think a San Mig win in Game Six could erase whatever doubts people may have on the so-called “predictable” Finals series.
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