Sudden death. Do-or-die. Winner-take-all. Fight for all the marbles.
These are classics adored, music to the ears, and a must-see for true-blue sports fans.
And this is the kind of battle TNT Tropang Giga and San Miguel Beer are waging to end their smoldering showdown.
It’s the ultimate duel, the very game for the throne.
Theirs is a face-off aching for a storied finish. And here they are in the final canto of a best-of-seven championship duel likely to draw a mammoth crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Game time is at 6 p.m. with the Tropang Giga hoping to defy tough adversity one last time to retain the Philippine Cup crown and the Beermen looking to stamp their class as the former five-peat champs in the league’s centerpiece tourney.
One team reigns and the other ends up with an unfulfilled dream.
The Tropa was the first to get on the hill at 3-2 with victories in Games 1, 4, and 5, but the Beermen forged the Sunday decider on their dominant 114-96 win in Game 6 Friday.
And thus, the rematch of their 2021 Philippine Cup semis duel boils down to one last game – as their previous showdown did.
There are health issues on TNT’s side, with coach Chot Reyes handicapped by injuries to Jayson Castro and Glenn Khobuntin. Khobuntin could be out with an MCL issue while Castro is a game-time decision with a sprained ankle.
“Hindi pa 100 percent kasi ilang araw pa lang. But Game 7 is Game 7, lahat ng players gusto laruan yan. Ita-try ko yung best ko para makatulong sa team,” said Castro.
But whoever is healthy for the Tropang Giga is likely to come out and put everything on the floor in chase of the PBA crown jewel.
For SMB, no doubt the Beermen are hell-bent on giving their all in the hunt for the glory that will end their drought since winning their last crown in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup.
“Sinasabi ko sa kanila, we’ve been training for the last three months and this is it. Kailangang ilabas na ninyo A-game ninyo. This is the opportunity and we don’t know if makakabalik pa rito,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.
With back to the wall, San Miguel mightily fought back and foiled TNT’s first shot at the crown, with fiery offensives from all key players.
The question is whether the Tropang Giga can regroup and do the same.
Or would it be a question of who wants it more?
History is waiting in the wings. (SB/PBA.PH)