LAST time Barangay Ginebra played a Game 7 in a PBA title series, a record 54,086 fans showed up at the Philippine Arena and the crowd-backed Gin Kings took care of business against old rival Meralco, booking a 101-96 win to collar the 2017 Governors’ Cup crown.
On Sunday, in the same cavernous venue in Bocaue, Bulacan, the Gin Kings seek to pull off a similar trick as they dispute the Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup diadem with ultra tough Bay Area.
“I hope they (crowd) all come. It’d be nice,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said as the PBA’s most popular club shifts focus to the sudden death after the Myles Powell-powered Dragons forced a 3-3 series deadlock with an 87-84 thriller last Wednesday.
“Right now, we’re really not so worried about the crowd. We’re more worried about trying to win a game. We want to win a great game for them, not just for the people who are out there but the people watching at home,” he added.
The Gin Kings failed to make it a triumphant moment for the 22,361 souls in the sixth game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum the other night, squandering a seven-point lead early in the fourth and losing steam in the endgame.
“It was a really great game. Our guys battled through all the rough spots. We had chances at the end of the game to hit but we just didn’t knock down our open shots. So we move on, think about Game 7,” said Mr. Cone, who would have preferred the decider to go on as originally scheduled today but would now make the most of the extra turnaround time to prepare.
After its painful “meet-Myles Powell-moment” last Wednesday, Barangay Ginebra channels its resources into devising schemes against the newly-reactivated import.
Spitfire guard Mr. Powell, who came back from foot injury to replace frontliner Andrew Nicholson (ankle sprain), dropped 29 points on 11-of-20 field goal clip, making 12 in the payoff period, to pick up the life-saving W in his maiden outing against Ginebra.
“We’ll look at it and rethink,” said Mr. Cone, whose squad only learned of the Powell-for-Nicholson switch while at practice the day before Game 6.
“We have time now. We had like 45 minutes to set the game plan for him in our last practice. So hopefully, we’ll have a little more time and think (about) what we’re doing about it. Look at him a little bit (more).”
Ginebra has been accustomed to defending against the 6-foot-10 Mr. Nicholson, who manned the fort in four of the first six meetings of the tournament. But the entry of 6-foot-2 Mr. Powell changed things up radically.
“We haven’t experienced him before. We didn’t play him in the elims. So this was the first time we had him,” said Mr. Cone. — Olmin Leyba