Oct. 04, 2016
Ginebra versus San Miguel: Sudden Death
The Meralco Bolts finally won a finals seat.
To “shock” everyone, the Bolts took out sister team TNT Katropa to nail their first taste of last showdown action.
Now it’s Ginebra and San Miguel’s turn.
Ginebra conquered the “odd” games while the Beermen were able to exert their might during the “even” games. If there’s a pattern, then the Kings are expected to bag the title.
For San Miguel, they need to solve the Ginebra riddle. It’s easy to decipher San Miguel’s offense. Elijah Millsap is the first option since he’s the import but June Mar Fajardo is the immovable force in the middle. The Kraken can either force his way to the rack or give up the ball to the snipers. While there are times when Chris Ross or Ronald Tubid join the scoring barrage, it’s basically Millsap, June Mar, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter – who was the hero of Game 4 with five triples and 25 markers.
But Ginebra has too many options especially with the injury to Greg Slaughter. Justin Brownlee serves as the constant but then you’ll have Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Solomon Mercado, Earl Scottie Thompson, Joe Devance, and even rookie Aljon Mariano. For the Kings, if one option is struggling, the rest will find spots to secure the shots.
As for Ginebra, I wonder if Tim Cone’s magic is rubbing off to his players. I don’t even know if Tim Cone is enjoying his Ginebra stint. The pressure to excel is multiplied by the people watching in the bleachers section as well as those sitting in front of their television sets and through their devices. Then there’s management making sure there’s no room for error. He has already sacrificed his vaunted triangle offense by inserting run and gun plays.
And haven’t you noticed that he would rather see his team solve their problem on their own than to call a time out? I mean... I know it’s better for the Gins to catch the Beermen off-guard. In Game Three, they had two tries to score the gimme before Sol Mercado passed it to an open Aguilar. But what makes the Kings think that they can survive another cardiac ballgame without proper execution?
San Miguel has become a playoff constant these past few conferences. It’s not that long ago when Cone piloted San Mig Coffee to a grand slam – which is why SMC plucked him off his squad to finally break Ginebra’s dry spell. If Ginebra can’t play mature ball then the Beermen could boot them off the conference.
The Game Four defeat could demoralize Ginebra. But that can also give San Miguel a false sense of security. The clincher will go down with one team throwing everything – including the kitchen sink.