BARANGAY Ginebra and Meralco deal with plenty of pressure as they face off in a crucial Game Five PBA Governors’ Cup Finals on Sunday night that will break the deadlock in the title series.
But they will also have to do so in front of an expected mammoth crowd at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Gin Kings and Bolts players, though, are more than up for the task as they embrace playing inside the 55,000-seat venue.
“From what I’ve heard, it’s the biggest indoor arena in the world,” Justin Brownlee said as the Gin Kings seek to bounce back from an 85-83 loss in Game Four that leveled the series at two games. “That’s gonna be quite the experience. I never played in anything like that.
“It’s definitely going to be exciting for me, (but) just got to look at it like a game, same series, and go out there and play our best,” the prolific import added.
The Gin Kings, as a unit, are familiar with the out-of-town venue, having played in the state-of-the-art facility twice, the latest on Christmas Day when they held off archrival Star, 86-79, in a Philippine Cup eliminations game.
Ginebra is 2-0 in the venue where the league’s most popular team beat TNT in the 2014 season opener that drew a record crowd of 52,612 fans.
The Bolts, on the other hand, will step foot on that court for the first time, but Chris Newsome is hardly concerned of the unfamiliarity as they try to sustain the momentum following back-to-back wins.
“Not necessarily (a concern), cause you know, at the end of the day, it's still the game of basketball,” the Filipino-American playmaker insisted. “We still shoot a ball in two hoops. We gotta go out there and play. They're on the same court as us, they use the same ball as us.”
“So you know, it's just about who's focused and, you know, who comes to play that day,” he added. “Sure it's unfamiliar territory but at the end of the day we're professionals and we're expected to perform no matter where you're at.”
The league is offering free rides to fans who are coming from Manila on a first-come, first-serve basis through JAM Liner terminals in Buendia and Cubao. Departure times are as follows: 1:40 p.m., 2:15, 2:45, and 3:15 from Buendia terminal, and 2:20 p.m., 2:40, 3, 3:20, 3:40, 4, 4:20, and 4:40 p.m. from Cubao.