MERALCO coach Norman Black played down the psychological edge Ginebra is expected to get from its fans in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals starting on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The crowd has always been regarded as the Gin Kings’ “sixth man,” expected to “sub in” for the squad at crucial junctures in the best-of-seven series.
“Fortunately, the crowd doesn’t play on the court, so we’re not too concerned about them,” Black said in the Finals press conference on Thursday at the PBA Café. “I’m more concerned about the Ginebra team.”
“The crowd will always be there,” the former import added. “I’ve played in the PBA for ten years I know what it’s like to hear, ‘Ginebra, Ginebra,’ sometimes it’s just swirling in my head, but we’re not really concerned about them.”
While the crowd has definitely been a big boost, the Gin Kings’ performance on the court has been the biggest difference that paved the way for their run to the finals as LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Sol Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, and Justin Brownlee have delivered for the league’s most popular team.
“It’s more important that we just prepare for their team,” said Black, who draws strength from import Allen Durham, Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan, Chris Newsome, Jimmy Alapag, and injured Jared Dillinger.
Since the Gin Kings have the crowd on their side, Dillinger jokingly requested Meralco governor Al Panlilio for an advantage.
"Boss Al, I was wondering if maybe for this series, if we can just increase the electricity charges just for the Ginebra team just to give us some type of help since they have all the fans," Dillinger said.
Panlilio said he doesn't have to increase the prices.
"I’ll just get their addresses and turn off their power,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.