This past Tuesday, the last big clash of PBA teams to win the final conference title of the 2019 season finally took place between the Meralco Bolts and the Barangay Ginebra. Both teams have taken their lumps at the Governor’s Cup playoffs, particularly the semifinals where they booted NorthPort and returning Commissioners Cup finalist Talk n Text. Their respective coaches, Norman Black for the Bolts and Tim Cone for Ginebra, have remarked that their squads have been prepared as best as could be for the concluding finals of the league season that began last year. And in the first game of seven, Barangay Ginebra would mark the score board first.
The Manila Bulletin reports that Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governor’s Cup Finals went to the Barangay Ginebra, which beat the Meralco Bolts by 91 to 87. After a tie in the first quarter, Meralco briefly led in the second before Ginebra took off in the latter half of the contest. In the post-game conference, Bolts head coach Norman Black dissected their defeat and concluded that it was due to Meralco’s struggles in sinking their three-point shots all game.
It was a notable off day for the Bolts, which for the Governor’s Cup this season has achieved the second-best three-point shooting percentage of 37, just behind their Finals opponent the Barangay which has 38 percent. But during Game 1 the team made only 7 out of 32 combined 3-point attempts, all made from “rainbow territory” due to Ginebra running interference when they tried to shoot closer to the line. “Ginebra does a good job of clogging the paint defensively,” said Black. “They want you to shoot from the outside.” To illustrate, usually decent Bolts shooters Baser Amer and Bong Quinto shot 3-of-15 combined. Allen Durhman missed all his threes.
But that is not to say that the Barangay Ginebra had a better time of it. Despite being the top three-point shooting team in this Governor’s Cup, they too found themselves struggling shot-wise. Nevertheless, their 3-point conversion for Game 1 of the Finals was 7 of 28. Their best shooter for the occasion was import Justin Brownlee, who shot 5-of-13.
In that regard, Coach Norman Black of the Meralco Bolts is hoping that his squad has shaken off the cobwebs and can live up to their conference 3-point shooting percentage for Game 2, particularly Baser Amer whom Black expects to breakthrough when it counts. Game 2 of the Meralco-Ginebra Finals for the 2019 PBA Governor’s Cup will be this Friday, January 10 at Lucena City.
Image courtesy of GMA News