WITH the series tied at two games apiece, two-time defending champion Talk ‘N Text and Alaska are looking to put one foot in the Finals in Sunday’s Game Five of their best-of-seven semifinal in the 2012-13 Philippine Cup playoffs at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Whichever team wins on Sunday will be one win away from a place in the best-of-seven championship series which begins on January 9 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sounds easy for the Game Five winner?
This is the fourth time in as many previous best-of-seven meetings of these two teams that the series is tied after four games.
However, did you know that in their three previous best-of-seven showdowns – two of them in a PBA Finals -- the team which won Game Five ended up NOT WINNING the series?
In the 2007 Fiesta Conference Finals, Talk ‘N Text, with JJ Sullinger as import and Derick Pumaren still as head coach, won Game Five, 107-104, for a 3-2 series lead. But Alaska, with Rosell Ellis as import and still under Tim Cone, won the next two games 121-110 and 99-96 to win the title - despite missing five of six free throws in the final 29 seconds of Game Seven.
In the 2008-09 Philippine Cup Finals, Alaska won Game Five of the series as Willie Miller scored the game-winning triple with 8.7 seconds remaining. But the Tropang Texters, who were in only their second conference under Chot Reyes, won Game Six, 99-94, and Game Seven, 93-89 to, win the championship.
And in the 2010 Fiesta Conference semifinals, Talk ‘N Text, still under Reyes and with Shawn Daniels as import, won Game Five 82-81 with Jayson Castro putting in the game-winning drive with 23.1 seconds left and Alaska import Diamon Simpson and Joe Devance missing from point-blank range in the dying seconds. But the Aces fought back to win Game Six, 94-83, and Game Seven, 90-81, to eliminate the Tropang Texters and eventually win the championship (beating San Miguel Beer 4-2 in the Finals), the franchise’s last taste of champagne.
Will the trend continue as far as these two teams’ best-of-seven history is concerned with the Game Five winner going on to lose the series in the end? I guess we'll soon find out.