“For Barangay Ginebra, the final challenge is to slay a giant.
For San Miguel Beer, the last task is to beat a master.
The Gin Kings and the Beermen commence their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven titular showdown Friday at the MOA Arena – a possible Friday thriller to start the last trek to the top for the opposing teams.
Tip-off time is 7 p.m. with both setting out for the battle with hardly a rest from their tough semifinal grinds.
A little advantage for the Beermen was a three-day breather as against the Kings’ two. But coach Leo Austria insists it’s not a big factor.
To many, looming large in the series are San Miguel dominant player June Mar Fajardo and Ginebra master tactician Tim Cone.
How will Ginebra contain Fajardo? How will San Miguel match Cone’s masterstrokes?
The last two teams standing after the double knockout finish of the 2017 Philippine Cup Final Four, Ginebra and San Miguel figure in an anticipated playoff rematch that is likely to be a series to remember.
San Miguel seeks a follow-up to its record championship run the last time to allow the team to have the Emilio “Jun” Bernardino Trophy as the latest showcase in the main lobby of the SMC complex in Mandaluyong.
Meanwhile, Ginebra, ruler of the recent Governors Cup, chases a rare back-to-back championships and a first all-Filipino crown in 10 years.
The Beermen are highly motivated.
“From day one, we’ve been wanting to win the perpetual trophy,” said SMB forward Arwind Santos.
“We’re one task short of achieving the goal. We’ll be ready to battle from Game One to Game Seven, the whole 48 minutes or even more if needed,” said guard Chris Ross.
“We’re very happy to be in this position. I can’t wait to get it started,” said gunner Marcio Lassiter.
Ginebra is the clear underdog but the Kings love the challenge of defying the odds.
“We’re excited going up against San Miguel. They’re going to be a handful for us but we’ll be ready,” said Caguioa.
“They’re a huge task in front of us. We’re taking on obviously the best team in the league. It’s going to be a top battle and we hope to be up to the challenge,” said Sol Mercado.
“We have to slay a giant. But for sure, we’re going to battle,” said LA Tenorio.