Ginebra, Meralco start title showdown
Hostilities begin as the brewing rivalry between the Meralco Bolts and Barangay Ginebra reached new heights with the two protagonists opening their best-of-seven titular showdown in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
The finals start today with Game 1 scheduled 7 p.m. at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena, Quezon as both teams feel each other out again.
This will be a much anticipated rematch of last season’s classic finale where the Gin Kings ended their eight-year title drought with Justin Brownlee’s epic buzzer-beating three-pointer to win the series and top the Bolts in six games, 4-2.
Both teams have been playing consistent basketball throughout the tournament while winning big games, paving the way to this inevitable rematch where Ginebra looks to remain in its throne while Meralco guns for revenge and redemption.
The protagonists remain the same though both teams have retooled and strengthened their respective lineups.
“Our core has improved and matured a lot plus we also added some key pieces as well. We’re hoping to finally win a championship for Meralco,” said Bolts coach Norman Black.
The Bolts are in their second finals appearance and are still in search of their first title in their seventh season in the league.
“This is going to be a great series again. We have the same players from last season but both teams have retooled,” said Gin Kings coach Tim Cone.
Cone specifically cited the key upgrades by both teams to allow them to cross paths in the final round again.
“The difference is that both teams had upgrades. Baser (Amer) and Chris Newsome are both playing very well and then there’s Ranidel (De Ocampo). For us, we have Greg (Slaughter) now and Kevin Ferrer.”
Brownlee and reigning Best Import Allen Durham will once again resume their rivalry. These two prolific resident imports do battle again and are expected to lead the charge for their respective teams.
The Gin Kings will also lean on their tall frontline of Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance along with LA Tenorio against the Bolts side featuring Amer, Newsome, Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge and Ranidel De Ocampo.
In their elimination round encounter way back on July 23 in the Gin Kings’ tourney debut, Meralco gave Ginebra a 93-78 beat down.