COACHES and officials can debate non-stop about the nature of officiating in the current PBA Governors Cup semifinals affair between Barangay Ginebra and TnT Katropa.
At the end of the day, though, it's the players themselves who'll decide the outcome of this brewing series featuring teams of two big corporate rivals.
Tim Cone, the champion veteran coach of the Gin Kings, stressed the players remain the focal point of the game who will decide the fate of their respective teams.
"The talk seems to be about the referees this series," said Cone on the eve of Sunday's Game Four at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. "And coach Nash [Racela] and I can complain and moan about the calls all we want.”
"But the game will ultimately be decided by the players on the court, not by the referees."
The Gin Kings took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series Friday after a 106-103 win, which TNT claimed was marred by spotty officiating.
Cone shrugged off the perception and said the free throw attempt discrepancy - which the Katropa pointed out was among the glaring factors that decided the outcome of the game - was the result of the Ginebra being the more aggressive team in Game Three.
Having said his piece, Cone is moving on and concentrating on the job at hand - to finish the series Sunday and earn a return trip to the finals of the season-ending meet opposite Meralco.
"We're just going to stay focused on the task at hand, and that is closing this series with a Game 4 win," said the two-time grand slam coach.
Game 5, if necessary, is slated on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.