Game 7 will be played on Sunday at Philippine Arena
By Olmin Leyba
DIFFERENT play date and venue, same objective for Game 6.
Clincher-seeking Barangay Ginebra and sudden death-eyeing Meralco clash in their re-scheduled sixth match in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup finals on Friday at the MOA Arena, both intent on accomplishing what they originally sought to do last Wednesday.
The 3-2-leading Gin Kings and the embattled Bolts got an unexpected break in action the other day when the pro league called off their initially-set Game 6 duel over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum due to a fire incident there.
“It’s out of our control so we will just adjust and get ready for the game on Friday at MOA,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, who conducted practice when the game was postponed last Wednesday.
Like Meralco, the defending champions tried to make the most of the extra time to recharge and gear up for the crucial 6 p.m. tussle that’s projected to draw another huge gate attendance.
“There should be fresh legs all around for both teams. Should make Game 6 more interesting,” said Ginebra mentor Tim Cone.
The Gin Kings put themselves on the cusp of a fourth Governors’ Cup title in the last five editions with back-to-back romps on Holy Wednesday, 95-84, and on Easter Sunday, 115-110.
Ginebra’s resident import Justin Brownlee said the crowd darlings are laser-focused on the job at hand.
“We want to really go out there and do whatever we can to win the game. Even though we got two opportunities, we’re thinking like it’s only one game to play,” said the Best Import awardee who torched Meralco with 40 spiked by 5-of-7 three-point shooting last time.
The Bolts are far from disheartened despite the daunting task of winning two in a row to steal the trophy from three-time conqueror Ginebra and carving a franchise first.
“Our guys are not giving up. There’s still another game to be won for them to be champions. So we want to win Game 6 and a winner-take-all Game 7,” said sophomore guard Aaron Black, who has been a revelation in the series and posted a career-high 25 in Game 5.
Meanwhile, the pro league announced on Thursday that the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan will be the venue should the title series go to a deciding Game 7. It will be played on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., if ever.
This will mark the PBA’s return to the stadium, where a record 54,086 fans witnessed the finals rubber match between Ginebra and Meralco in the 2017 Governors’ Cup on Oct. 27 of that year.
The PBA’s most recent staging at the Philippine Arena was three years ago with the opening ceremonies of the Philippine Cup and the kickoff showdown between Ginebra and TnT held on Jan. 13, 2019.