BARANGAY Ginebra finds itself at a disadvantage in the quarterfinal matchup against Alaska this time as the Gin Kings take on the Aces on Sunday needing a win to force a rubber match for a spot in the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Gin Kings enjoyed a twice-to-beat advantage against the Aces in their matchup in the first round of the last Governors’ Cup playoffs, dispatching their opponents in just one game, 109-104, last September, to advance to the Final Four opposite San Miguel Beer.
But Ginebra is now facing an uphill route with a twice-to-win disadvantage as the seventh seed after finishing the eliminations with a 6-5 win-loss record against the second-seeded Aces (7-4).
“That's how it is,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said after practice on Friday. “Because we played so much and we played so long, there's always bawi. We're on the other side.”
The champion coach remembered their matchup last conference where they “played very well and they (Alaska) made a comeback in the end then Justin Brownlee hit a three-point shot off the backboard to help us win that game.”
Now, it’s the Gin Kings who have to play like it’s the last game of their lives to avoid early elimination.
“We just need to go out there and play the best we can and see where the cards fall,” Cone said. “Obviously we need to get out and focus on one game. That's it, that's what we’re trying to emphasize on the team, it's only one game.”
And the Governors’ Cup champions' bid for back-to-back titles is definitely far from their minds.
“You don’t let that be the focus throughout the conference, you worry about the process,” Cone said. “It's always important that the players keep the proper perspective right now, and that's what the game is, this is about the process, a day-to-day process and if we are doing that right, then we'll be alright in that game.”
“One thing I never worry about is winning championships - championships happen,” he added. “We don’t win championships, we grow into the championships. Every day, we try to get a little better and better until we grow, and at that very end we look around, we won a championship. That's cool. But it's not on our mind all the time – at least we try not to.”