ANTIPOLO – While Meralco is looking to win that elusive PBA championship, Bolts coach Norman Black insisted doesn’t necessarily mean his team is the hungrier team than Barangay Ginebra when they face the Gin Kings in the Governors’ Cup finals.
The Bolts arranged a trilogy against the Gin Kings in the season-ending conference after beating TNT, 89-78, on Monday night in Game Five of the semifinal series at the Ynares Center here.
Even days before the Bolts eliminated the KaTropa, Ginebra coach Tim Cone already saw that Meralco would be the hungrier team if they once again face the Bolts in the finals, attributing to the two victories the Gin Kings had during the 2016 and 2017 series previously.
“If we play Meralco, certainly it won’t be an advantage. It’s a disadvantage because we play them twice and we beat them twice,” said Cone. “They are going to be super hungry to play us.”
But Black begged to differ with the statement of Cone, a 21-time PBA champion.
“They are always hungry,” said Black, shortly after Meralco won over TNT on Monday. “Tim Cone is always hungry that’s why he has so many championships. But yeah, we want to win.”
Following a season in which they didn’t face each other in the finals, Meralco and Ginebra are back at it in the Governors’ Cup championship series, but this time with the Bolts having more new faces than the Gin Kings.
Meralco is now bolstered with the line-up that has Raymond Almazan and Allein Maliksi, all with championship experience in the league, as well as rookie Bong Quinto, which has been a revelation for the Bolts this season.
Black, however, said the chase to win the franchise’s first championship in the PBA is enough reason to stay in the course of their goal for this conference.
“To be quite honest with you, Ginebra is the team we are playing. It wouldn’t matter what team we are playing because we’ve already lost two,” said Black, referring to the Ginebra defeats in the finals which turned out to be the only two finals appearances of the team since purchasing the Sta. Lucia franchise in 2010.
“So there will be a lot of hunger to get this championship,” said Cone.