THERE are a lot of figures that can be tossed around as San Mig and Talk ‘N Text prepare to go at it one last time in do-or-die Game Five of their PBA Governors Cup semifinal series, but here are the real numbers that matter:
1) San Mig is 5-2 (win-loss) overall in deciding Game Fives but get this: the Mixers are 3-0 in do-or-die fifth games since their version of the ‘Big Three’ of James Yap, Marc Pingris and PJ Simon teamed up for the former Purefoods franchise.
With the Big Three on board, San Mig beat Rain or Shine, 95-85, in Game Five of the 2009-2010 Philippine Cup quarterfinals; Rain or Shine again, 105-100, in overtime in the 2010 Fiesta Conference quarterfinals, and, just recently, Asi Taulava and Air21, 99-83, in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
2) Tim Cone has a record of 4-5 (win-loss) in deciding Game Fives and 1-0 with San Mig. The first eight do-or-die Game Fives of his career came with Alaska Milk.
3) Talk ‘N Text is the ninth team in PBA history to climb out of a 2-0 hole and force a deciding game in a best-of-five series. The Texters are looking to become just the fourth team to complete a comeback from 0-2 down, a feat achieved Barangay Ginebra in the 2009-10 Philippine Cup quarterfinals against Talk ‘N Text; Purefoods in the 1990 Third Conference Finals over Alaska (with head coach Tim Cone); and Crispa in the 1975 All-Philippine Championship (Third Conference Finals) against archrival Toyota.
The teams that climbed out of a 0-2 hole only to lose Game Five are Barangay Ginebra in the 2010 Fiesta Conference quarterfinals against Alaska (Cone); Rain or Shine in the 2009-10 Philippine Cup quarterfinals vs Purefoods; Alaska (Cone) in the 2002 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals vs Talk ‘N Text; Coca-Cola in the 2002 Governors Cup semifinals vs. Purefoods; and Shell in the 2001 All-Filipino Cup semifinals vs. Barangay Ginebra.
4) Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black is 1-1 (win-loss) in deciding Game Fives. Aside from last season’s Commissioner’s Cup semis which the Texters lost to Ginebra, Black’s only other Game Five in a best-of-five series was with Sta. Lucia against his former team Pop Cola in the semifinals which they won, 86-74, en route to capturing the franchise’s first-ever championship. Black’s Realtors battled back from a 1-2 deficit in that series.
5) The Talk ‘N Text franchise is 3-3 overall in deciding Game Fives – and 2-3 in the Jimmy Alapag era. The Tropang Texters have lost three of their last four Game Fives, their only win in that stretch happening in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup against Barako Bull where they battled back from a 1-2 deficit.
Here’s TnT’s Game Five record over that stretch:
· Lost to Brgy. Ginebra 111-103 2013 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals
· Won over Barako Bull 101-90 2012 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals
· Lost to Brgy. Ginebra 113-100 2009-10 Philippine Cup quarterfinals
· Lost to Air21 117-110 OT 2005-06 Fiesta Conference quarterfinals
· Won over Alaska 92-88 OT 2003 All-Filipino Cup semifinals
6) Most important of all, San Mig is trying to keep alive its quest to become just the fifth team to complete a sweep of all three conference championships after Crispa (1976 and 1983), San Miguel Beer (1989) and Alaska (1996). On the other hand, Cone, already the most successful coach in PBA history, has a shot at becoming the first coach to win more than one grand slam.
However, a loss to Talk ‘N Text and San Mig will kiss its grand slam dream goodbye.