FOR Barangay Ginebra and Phoenix Super LPG, it’s the time to close out their semifinal series and set up a much-awaited title showdown in the coronavirus-interrupted 2020 PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Sports Center in Pampanga.
For Meralco and Talk N Text, it’s simply win or go home.
Game 4 of the best-of-five semifinal showdowns will be played today after a two-day breather with the Gin Kings and the Fuel Mesters needing only to win against the Bolts and the Tropang Giga, respectively, to advance to the championship.
The Bolts and the Tropang Giga can forge a deciding game with victories today.
And judging from the first three games in the series, both Ginebera coach Tim Cone and Phoenix mentor Topex Robinson know they cannot take their opponents lightly, even with a twice-to-beat advantage.
“It’s going to be really hard to close them out,” said Cone on the eve of the game against Meralco.
“They got a great coach over there who’s also been through these kinds of wars and they got a young, hungry core that’s listening to him,” added Cone, who is hoping to lead the Gin Kings to the finals of the All-Filipino for the first time since 2006.
Cone will pin his hopes on Stanley Pringle, Ginebra’s newest “Fourth-Quarter Man”, as well as old reliables Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio, Aljon Mariano and Prince Caperal.
The hard-working Fil-Am guard came through with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Ginebra’s decisive 91-84 win over Meralco last Sunday.
Meralco coach Norman Black hopes the Bolts can rover and extend the series to a fifth and deciding game.
“Simply put, we’re in a must-win situation,” said Black. “We must play better on both ends of the court and we must bring a high energy level.”
Phoenix will also gun for the clincher against Talk N Text in their 6:30 p.m. semifinal encounter.
With Matthew Wright, the leading candidate for the PBA “Best Player of the Conference”, back to his old, deadly form, the Fuel Masters hope to finish off the Tropang Giga and secure their first-ever finals appearance since joining the league in 2016.
Veterans Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Justin Chua and Brian Heruela are ready to lend a hand to Wright in what could be another grind-out battle against the Tropang Giga in the bubble.
For Talk N Text, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy and Ray Parks are again expected to give everything to extend their stay in the Pampanga bubble for atleast a few more days.
(AUF Sports Center)
3:45 p.m. — Meralco vs. Ginebra
6:30 p.m. — Talk N Text vs. Phoenix