While optimally, an entire season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) would fit within an entire year, oftentimes the last few games of the season’s third conference, the Governor’s Cup, tend to overlap into the first month or so of the following year. That is the case again for the 2019 season, and the Best-of-7 Governor’s Cup Finals will start this Tuesday, with the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings missing out on a rematch against the TNT Ka-Tropa. Rather, they would have to contend with Meralco, which has only reached the playoffs for Governor’s 2019 but has tangled with Ginebra on a PBA finals series before.
Inquirer.net reports that the two PBA teams which survived the playoffs of the 2019 season Governor’s Cup will play their first game on the evening of January 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Barangay Ginebra will be taking on the Meralco Bolts for the honor of acing the last conference cup that has not been swept by the San Miguel Beermen, which bowed to Ginebra during the playoffs quarterfinals. Having had the Christmas Holiday break to rest and recover for this one last campaign, these two squads are ready to duke it out in what their respective head coaches describe as a chess match.
If Ginebra head coach (and recent SEA Games champion coach) Tim Cone has his way, the team would go at full throttle to head off the Bolts and finish the finals series without going the full seven games. His more pragmatic prediction however is the match-up will go the distance, describing his boys and the other guys as being both “really good teams.” His Meralco counterpart and fellow legendary PBA coach Norman Black is recalling previous two times his squad took on Ginebra at the Governor’s Cup finals, and is determined that this time, they will have the last laugh.
“We are much more equipped this time out,” Black said regarding his Bolts roster, whom he noted to have paced carefully in playtime throughout the Governor’s Cup conference so as not to have any one man tire out. “We went to the limit in the semifinals,” he adds, referring to how Meralco stopped TNT from returning to make up for their 2019 Commissioner’s Cup loss to San Miguel. “We’ll be ready just in case it does go to a Game 7.” To ensure their chances of success, Black had added center Raymond Almazan and Allein Maliksi to the Bolts lineup.
During the Governor’s Cup Best-of-5 Semis, Barangay Ginebra prevailed against the NorthPort Batang Pier 3 games to 1, while Meralco had a longer full-series trip splitting 3 games to 2 in knocking out Talk n Text. The next games in the last 2019 PBA season conference, if all in the series would get played, will be on January 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, and 22.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News