ALL roads lead to Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, the firecracker capital where fireworks are expected to come in abundance in the pivotal clash between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco today in the PBA Governors’ Cup championship series.
And considering the quick pace with which tickets are sold, Game 5 of the best-of-seven duel, set to begin at 6:30 p.m., is expected to become another blockbuster, gate-wise.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, PBA external affairs director Willie Marcial said that more than 20,000 tickets had already been sold, including 15,000 seats in the lower level of the world’s largest indoor arena.
“As of 4 p.m. (yesterday) more than 20,000 tickets had already been sold out,” said Marcial in a conversation with People’s Journal.
“We expect the sales to go beyond that pero hindi aabot naman sa record natin sa venue; napakalaki ng venue na ’to,” added Marcial.
A total of 52,612 fans trooped to the Philippine Arena when the league held its opening ceremony and the first two games of the elimination there during the 2014-2015 season.
With the more than 20,000 fans filling up the spacious venue, it seems it’s good thing for the popular Gin Kings who are hoping to rebound from their narrow setback to the Bolts the other night at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s a best-of-three now,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “Like in a game, we have lost our lead and now have to pick up our game.”
The Gin Kings took the first two outings, but the Bolts rebounded mightily to annex the next two games that resulted into the series tied at 2-2.
“What’s done is done. We have to play from here. I have great faith in our players that we can regain control of the series. It should be an interesting game in Philippine Arena,” added Cone.
The Gin Kings and the Bolts fought fiercely in Game 4 until the latter got a couple of big breaks in the last 70 seconds.
Durham got a perfect assist from Reynel Hugnatan and took no time to go for an undergoal stab which broke the last deadlock of the game, and lifted the Bolts to a pulsating 85-83 win.
Despite plenty of time, the Gin Kings failed to convert anymore, missing four of their attempts at the basket, including two by Justin Brownlee, and allowed the Bolts to escape with the win.
With that undergoal basket, Durham capped his gamelong brilliance with 28 points and 20 rebounds, making himself the logical marked man in today’s crucial Game 5.
“We’ve got a series. It’s good for the basketball program of Meralco,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
“It’ s a great game and we came up short. We’re playing a tough team and they’ve done a good job pinpointing our weakness,” added Black.
By beating the Gin Kings two in a row, the Bolts have now become fully recharged, something the Gin Kings will have to contend with if they are to regain the lead in the series.
“We’re very much ok going into Game 5,” declared Black, who is looking to avenge their loss to the Gin Kings in the finals of the same tournament last season.