Barangay Ginebra is now 3-0 in the playoffs following its huge 104-81 demolition of Talk ‘N Text in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series opener at the Big Dome on Friday.
Even with injured superstar Mark Caguioa, center Billy Mamaril and now, forward Rudy Hatfield, the Gin Kings have played with a big heart, motivated by the support of the pro-Ginebra crowd.
The Gin Kings certainly bolstered their backcourt with the arrival of spitfire guard Josh Urbiztondo.
The 6’0” Urbiztondo is a certified outside sniper, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists with Barako Bull this conference, before being shipped out to Barangay Ginebra.
The soft-spoken former Fresno Pacific alumnus was averaging just three points in his first two quarterfinal games with the Gin Kings, but started firing at the semifinal series-opener against Talk ‘N Text on Friday. He finished with 12 points, spiked with four triples as Barangay Ginebra rolled past Talk ‘N Text, 104-81 to take a 1-0 lead.
Now, the Gin Kings only needed two more wins to reach the PBA Finals for the first time since the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup, where they eventually bowed to the Tropang Texters, 4-2 in the Finals.
The Gin Kings are playing with a lot of confidence and grit in their last three games.
Veteran forward Kerby Raymundo has also rediscovered the fountain of youth, providing instant perimeter and inside offense, rebounding and consistent defense to help import Vernon Macklin.
Barangay Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua said with the Finals berth now within their reach, he challenged his wards to be ready anytime their name is called.
“As long the players know that all of them are important… sinabi ko sa kanila eh, gamitin ko kayo or hindi ko kayo gamitin, just be ready, basta alam niyo lang ang gagawin ninyo. Ganyan naman ang Ginebra, never say die, kung sino bubunutin diyan lalaban yan,” he said.
Will it be 2-0 for the Gin Kings or do we see a tied 1-1 series on Sunday?