Game Five is a go, but banged-up Meralco and Ginebra could've used a break
Meralco veteran Jimmy Alapag has had to endure a couple of knocks in a playoff run that has seen the Bolts play nine games in a span of 19 days - and 10 over the last 22 days. Jaime Campos

THE PBA Commissioner's Office have made the call, announcing this morning that Game Five of the Governors Cup Finals between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco is a go on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum despite the rains and occasional gusts brought by Typhoon Karen.

Although we agree that the weather in Manila is not as bad as anticipated, a postponement wouldn't have been a bad idea: the fans use the break to catch their collective breath after a riveting first four games in the best-of-seven series that have been decided by an average of 3.5 points.

The two protagonists could've used the breather as well.

Ginebra, which finished the eliminations as the No. 3 seed, has so far played 10 games in 20 days, meaning the Gin Kings have been playing one game every two games since the playoffs of the season-ending conference started.

[See Four players, no one younger than 36, have become unlikely X factors in PBA Finals]

After dispatching Alaska in the quarters, it has been a long, hard grind for a team in search of a first league championship in eight years. The Kings needed five games to put away sister team San Miguel in the semifinals and jumped straight into a dogfight with the surprising Bolts.

Meralco is no different. In fact, their road to a first-ever finals appearance has been tougher. The Bolts had to go through a playoff with Mahindra for the No. 4 seeding in the playoffs and, winning that, promptly dispatched the Enforcer in one game in the quarters.

Next, they had to go through the wringer against top-seeded sister team TNT Katropa, needing four games - and just about everything in their arsenal - to get past the flagship team of the MVP group.

In all, Meralco has played nine games in 19 days - and 10 over the last 22 days.


[See Cone says injured Japeth Aguilar a 'game-time decision']

The two teams have consequently been banged up in the grind and some players could've used the break - which could've stretched to five days had Game Five been reset to Wednesday - to allow injuries to heal.

As it is, Japeth Aguilar, acording to coach Tim Cone, is a 'game-time decision' for Ginebra after spraining an ankle in Game Four which the Kings won, 88-86. Aguilar has been the Kings' premier big man in the series with Greg Slaughter out with an ACL injury.

The Bolts, too, aren't completely healthy.

Veteran guard Jimmy Alapag played no more than eight minutes in Game Four due to tightness on his leg. Although he assured Norman Black that he'll be 'good to go' for Game Five, the Meralco coach isn't as certain.

Aside from that, the Bolts are still waiting for Jared Dillinger to get back to full fitness after a hamstring injury kept him out of action since midway through the TNT series.

"He's still day to day," Black said.

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