Barangay Ginebra and head coach Tim Cone are both looking to finally end the drought as they’re now one win away from winning the Finals of the 2020 Philippine Cup.
The Kings capitalized on the undermanned TNT last night and took the Game 3 win, 98-88, to earn a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
The Tropang Giga missed Ray Parks, who suffered a calf injury in Game 1 and Jayson Castro, who only played 17 minutes as he too suffered a knee injury.
However, Barangay Ginebra showed no mercy as they continued to pin down the injury-riddled TNT squad. The Kings were led by LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, who both had 22 points.
This year’s PH Cup is already in the list of Cone and the Kings just minutes after they won the 2019 Governors’ Cup against Meralco. In his speech, the winningest coach in PBA history declared that they will be trying to capture the 2020 Philippine Cup title.
At the time, a lot fans and critics had doubts on whether they can pull it off. Simply because the five-time champions San Miguel led by June Mar Fajardo was still around as well as the other tough contending teams like Magnolia, TNT, Rain or Shine etc.
However, after months of delay the Barangay Ginebra proved that the statement made by Cone is not just a because of the moment but a fearless forecast as they are now one win away from winning it all in the 2020 PH Cup.
If the Kings could get the win in Game 5 and close out the series, it’ll be their first PH Cup title since the 2006-07 season. They defeated the Beermen in seven games to win the title led by the Fast and the Furious duo of Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa as well the support of Eric Menk and Ronald Tubid.
As for Cone, not only would he get his 23rd title for his career, but it will be his first Philippine Cup title in six years. The last time he coached a squad that became the top team in the All-Filipino conference when he was still with Magnolia – then known as the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers.
With the trio of James Yap, PJ Simon and Marc Pingris, they won the 2013-14 Philippine Cup over Rain or Shine in six games. That title win became the start of the second three-peat of Cone’s career.
This Barangay Ginebra squad is familiar with closing out a series, as the last time it had a 3-1 series lead was last season’s Governors’ Cup against the Bolts, where Japeth Aguilar played one of the best games in his career.
Despite the obvious advantage of Barangay Ginebra, TNT are still not down and out yet.
Granted, the Tropang Giga are undermanned and need to win three consecutive games, so the task may be improbable but not impossible.
In 1991, Barangay Ginebra with Robert Jaworski, Philip Cezar and import Jervis Cole leading the way came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Shell Rimula X to win the 1991 PBA First Conference title. Shell had their own formidable trio in Ronnie Magsanoc, Benjie Paras and import Bobby Ray Parks Sr. At the time, it was the biggest comeback in league history.
In 2015, the PBA history saw a big shift as in the 2015-16 Philippine Cup Finals, San Miguel surpassed the previous great comeback by performing what people called “The Beeracle” as they came back from 0-3 and beat Alaska to win the second of five-consecutive PH Cup title.
TNT will have to make its own “Giga-comeback” in order to win it all. This feat that will be extremely difficult, especially, against this Barangay Ginebra team. For now, they‘ve just got to make sure to survive one game at a time.
Will the BGSM win it in Game 5? Can TNT extend the series? Can they pull off their own 3-1 comeback? Sound off below in the comment section!