B-MEG hopes to finish with a flourish as it takes on Rain or Shine on Sunday for the PBA Governors’ Cup title at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Given up for dead after finding themselves in a huge 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series, the Llamados suddenly resurrected as they won Games Five and Six to forge a winner-take-all match.
The Llamados go for the jugular against the Painters at 6 p.m.
They're not only trying to become back-to-back champions, but also the first team in 21 years to come back from a 1-3 Finals deficit since Ginebra avhieved the rare feat in 1991.
The Llamados won Game Five by 10 points and Game Six by 16, but coach Tim Cone said it’s not any indication of what the all-important Game Seven will be.
“It’s gonna be a huge battle, an all-out war. It’s a 50-50 game.”
James Yap knows exactly what’s it like to be in this situation.
“Alam namin yung feeling kung paano maglaro sa Game Seven. Walang gustong magpatalo dito. Bawal mag-relax. And every possession counts.”
The Llamados, therefore, have the edge in experience, considering they’ve been to the same game in the last Commissioner’s Cup against Talk 'N Text.
But he believes they should just treat it as another ordinary game.
“Experience-wise (lamang kami), pero hindi namin iniisip yun kasi the more na inisip mo yan, may tendency mag-relax. So focus pa rin kami, gawin pa rin namin yung ginawa naming tama nung Game Five and Six.”
For workhorse forward Marc Pingris, focus can be achieved if his team doesn’t get affected by the Painters’ highly physical style.
“Sana hindi kami madala sa pisikal na game nila,” said Pingris, who has never been shy to retaliate against the Painters.
Pingris, who played 11 minutes in Game Six despite a neck injury, expects more playing time on Sunday, but will still be grateful even if he plays less.
“Sa akin naman kahit konting time lang basta may maitulong ako sa team, at maganda na rin naman tinatakbo ng team.”
One player who’s not happy with his situation right now is versatile forward JC Intal, who’s out with a meniscal tear on his left knee.
“Honestly, I’m frustrated, pero wala naman ako magagawa eh. Magagawa ko na lang ay mag-cheer and moral support. Kami ni Joe (Devance) sobrang kating-kati kami maglaro, lalo na Finals tapos Game Seven. Yun yung dream ng players eh.”
Marcus Blakely is fortunate to realize that dream as the import will be playing in his first-ever Game Seven.
Blakely said the closest parallel he’s been to a game of this magnitude is when he led his college team, Vermont, to their conference tournament title as a senior on their way to the NCAA tournament.
In his first year in the NBA D-League, Blakely also won the title in a three-game series for the Iowa Energy.
“But you treat them all the same way.”
He hopes to bring the same mindset the Llamados brought when they won the Commissioner’s Cup with Denzel Bowles as their import.
Blakely believes the game will boil down to defense. “If we can disrupt what the (Painters) want to do on offense, it will be the key.”
Cone, for his part, believes the coaches won’t decide the outcome of the game.
“It’s truly a players’ game. It’s not a game about adjustments. It’s a game about heart and making big plays and big shots.”