PBA Governors' Cup semis off to a rousing start
By Eddie Alinea
Mon, 12 Nov 2018
The PBA Governors? Cup semifinal round is on with two teams owned by one business conglomerate ? Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia Hotshots ? one belonging to its arch-rival in Meralco and another, Alaska, not affiliated with the two, making it to the Final Four to determine which among them will dispute the title being defended by the Kings.
The Kings and the Hotshots, of course, are playing under the food and beverage giant, among others, San Miguel Corp., the Bolts under the MVP Group, while the Aces under the banner not named SMC or MVP.
The presence of Ginebra and Magnolia, which, incidentally, are squaring off in the Final Four, assures the Ramon S. Ang-owned teams of a seat in the gold medal play. Alaska and Meralco are contesting the other berth in other half the quarters.
Except to a very few uninitiated, both SMC and the MVP Group own three teams each in the country?s and Asia?s first pro-hoop league ? San MIguel Beer for the RSA-owned companies and Talk ?N Text for MVP firms. Both flagship clubs failed to survive the elimination round.
Having met in the Finals of the two previous Governors? Cup conferences, the Tim Cone-coached Kings and the Norman Black-mentored Bolts are seen to continue their rivalry in the 2k19 edition of the PBA 43rd season-ending tournament.
Ginebra, of course, is favored to repeat over Meralco and complete a three-peat.
But wait. It looks like he Hotshots of coach Chito Victolero have a different idea. Romeo Travis and Paul Lee and company, combined talents all game-long, particularly in the pivotal final period in exacting a 106-98 win on Saturday.
With the Gin Kings almost wiping out a comeback 13-points deficit, Lee, popularly known as the ?Angas ng Tondo,? having earned his basketball spurs in Barrio Obrero that part of the capital city, scored the Hotshots? last nine points including the three-point play that sealed the win with 56 seconds remaining.
Lee's dazzling performance came with 27 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
?Don?t panic and stay composed,? was how Lee, a former University of the East Warrior, described the winning formula he and company employed in emerging triumphant over the crowd favorite defending champs.
"We weathered the storm lang naman, yun lang ang magagawa mo dun," said Lee. "We held each other. Si coach Chito (Victolero) naka-relax lang siya, so lahat nag-start sa coaching staff. We just played through it.
"Ganun ang kailangan niyong gawin to beat a team like Ginebra," he said as he paid tribute to assistant coach Johnny Abarrientos, who, he added successfully scouted the Kings? style of plays which he relayed to the team."
The Pambansang Manok were eyeing a 2-0 lead in their series with the Kings on Monday back at the Araneta Coliseum.
Where Ginebra failed, Meralco, back-to-back losing finalist, succeed picking up from where it left off, scoring its seventh straight win coming back to the elims, beating Alaska, 97-92, also at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Allen Durham and Chris Newsome, again carried the torch for the streaking Bolts, who had to win six straight do-or-die games to reach the semifinals, are now two wins away from a third successive finals appearance in this conference.
The Bolts, who entered the playoffs as seventh seed, will go for a 2-0 lead against the third-seeded Aces on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.
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