BACK in the mid-80s, when I was still the greenest of greenhorns, we have been often told by our elders about this golden rule in sportswriting: “No Cheering in the Press Box.”
As a sportswriter, I tried to stay as objective as possible. But as they say, it’s almost next to impossible to not have bias, especially in the wonderful world of sports.
So before I take a close look at the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup title showdown between Barangay Ginebra and Talk N Text and give my five cent’s worth, let’s first put it on record:
— I’m a big fan of Tanduay Rhum in the 80s and later, San Miguel Beer.
— Some of my kumpares from basketball, like PBA legend Robert Jaworski, Allan Caidic, Pido Jarencio, Bong Alvarez and Marlou Aquino played for Ginebra. In fact, all my four children have at least one Ginebra player as a ninong.
— My Mom Virgie still keeps a No. 7 Ginebra jersey given to her personally by Jaworski during her 70th birthday celebrations at Camp Crame Auditorium in July 2012.
— Bobby Parks Sr., the late father of Talk N Text superstar Ray Parks, is one of my all-time favorite PBA imports.
— Although I watch the games only on TV, I keep up with the league and know a lot about the teams since they arrived in the NBA-inspired PBA bubble in Pampanga.
With that now out of the way, let’s get started with my own, humble analysis:
No. 1 Barangay Ginebra vs. No. 3 Talk N Text.
How they get to the finals:
Ginebra finished No. 1 in the eliminations with 8-3 win-loss record; Defeated Rain or Shine in the quarrterfinals; Defeated Meralco, 3-2, in the semis.
Talk N Text wound up No. 3 overall at 7-4 (after tiebreaks). Defeated Alaska Milk in the quarterfinals; Phoenix Super LPG, 3-2, in the semis.
Ginebra defeated Talk N Text, 85-79, last Nov. 8.:
Players to watch:
Ginebra — Stanley Pringle, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio,Prince Caperal, Aljon Mariano, Arvin Tolentino.
Talk N Text — Bobby Parks, Roger Pogoy, Jayson Castro, John Paul Erram, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, Jay Washington.
Ginebra and Telk N Text are easily two of the league’s most popular teams.
Both the Gin Kings and the Tropang Giga are star-studded with great supporting cast.
Ginebra can lean on Stanley Pringle, Talk N Text can rely on Ray Parks.
The Gin Kings also have LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, the Tropang Giga have Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario.
Both teams also have good and talented coaches, who can bring out the best in their players — Tim Cone for Ginebra and Bong Ravena (with Mark Dickel) for Talk N Taxt.
Like in the semifinal matchups which both went the full distance, the Ginebra-Talk N Text title showdown is expected to provide plenty of good basketball to keep all of us happy.
The players to watch should again be Pringle and Parks, who provided the biggest moment in the semis ith their MVP-like numbers.
Pringle, the 33-year-old Fil-American shooting guard from San Diego, California is averaging a team-high 18.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists in his role of Cone’s take-charge guy.
Parks was even better
The 6-4 Fil-American shooting guard from Parañaque averages 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.3 steals in only his second season in the league.
Equally interesting will be the matchups pitting Tenorio against Castro, Aguilar against Erram, Thompson against Pogoy, and Caperal against Rosario.
Tenorio (8.3 ppg , 3.0 rpg, 4 apg) and Castro (16.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.9apg) , who played together for the Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, are two of the league’s most intelligent guards who can make their teammates look twice as good with their playmaking skills.
Aguilar (14.2 ppg, 7.94 rpg) and Erram (11.1 ppg,, 8.7 rpg) will be a joy to watch in the battle of the bigs.
Cone and Dickel both preferred to play the role of the underdog in the best-of-seven championship series.
“I do think that they’re the favorite team. I think that they showed that from the very beginning,coming into this bubble. And I think we’ll go in as slight underdogs,” said Cone.
Dickel, who serves as team consultant, disagreed.
“We are the underdogs in this series. They are the reigning champions in the PBA and have good players and a great coach,” he said.
One thing the two coaches can agree is that both teams are hungry for the PBA All-Filipino title.
The last time Ginebra captured the All-Filipino title came exactly 13 years ago. The Jong Uichico-mentored Gin Kings defeated sister team San Miguel Beer, 4-2, during the 2006-2007 season.
And although Ginebra won five more titles from 2007-2019, the Gin Kings have not reached the finals of the All-Filipino until now.
Five of Talk N Text’s seven championships came in the All-Fiipino, including a three in a row from 2010 to 2012.
The Tropang Giga bagged their last title in th 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, beating Rain or Shine, 4-3.
Prediction: Ginebra in seven.
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NOTES — Happy 32nd wedding anniversary to my loving wife Liza on December 3.
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