SISTER teams they may be, but San Miguel and Magnolia assured their coming showdown will be anything but sisterly.
On Monday, the battle lines were drawn in the 2019 PBA All-Filipino Cup Finals as the two protagonists vowed that there will be no sibling love in the best-of-seven series kicking off on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The finals encounter marks the third time in four conferences teams from the SMC group will be fighting for a title, and there’s a growing notion that San Miguel, Barangay Ginebra, and Magnolia are just taking turns becoming champions.
June Mar Fajardo and Marc Pingris shot down the idea.
“Kung sa Dota nga, hindi kami nagbibigayan, e,” Pingris said in jest.
But seriously, it’s all about pride and the perks that comes with winning which mattered most for each team, according to Pingris.
“Kung ako nga nung nag-start akong maglaro ng basketball, ice tubig lang nakikipagpatayan ako, ngayon pa kaya na medyo malaki ang bonus naming makukuha,” said the veteran Magnolia forward.
Fajardo, the five-time league MVP, said playing basketball is not a life-long career and so he’s trying to grab every opportunity presented before him.
“Gusto naming manalo, hindi naman habang buhay maglalaro ka ng basketball, e,” said the Cebuano native.
“Kung may chance ka na manalo, kukunin namin yan. Hangga’t puwede kaming manalo ng championship, iga-grab namin yan. Hindi puwedeng ibibigay lang yan.”
To which Pingris butted in, “Si June Mar malaki talaga (bonus) niyan. Papayag ba si June Mar na ibigay sa amin yung bonus niya?”
Team governors Rene Pardo of Magnolia and San Miguel’s Robert Non also had the same take on the issue.
“Nagbibigayan ng game? Sabihin mo yan kay Tim Cone. Masama nga ang loob nung matalo sila nung isang conference,” said Pardo, obviously referring to Magnolia ousting Ginebra in four games during the semifinals of last year’s Governors Cup which the Hotshots went on to win.
“Kanya-kanyang kontrata yan, kanya-kanya kaming bonus. So hindi magbibigayan ang mga ito.”
Non put things in their proper perspective.
“May mga kontrata yan, may mga bonuses yan. Kung talo ka, wala kang bonus. Kung panalo ka, may bonus ka,” he said.
“So hindi mangyayari yun na every finals lagi na lang ganun (bigayan).”
San Miguel coach Leo Austria, gunning for his fifth straight All-Filipino title with the mighty Beermen, guaranteed that both teams will give fans what they want to see.
“Naniniwala ako na magbibigayan ang mga ito pagdating ng laro – magbibigayan ng mga siko at tadyak,” a smiling Austria said.