IT finally comes down to this -- a Game 7 between two of the winningest teams in PBA history, offense versus defense, San Miguel against Alaska.
A jampacked crowd is expected Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum as the Beermen and Aces clash one final time for the prestigious Philippine Cup championship.
Game time is at 7 p.m.
San Miguel will be shooting for its 20th league crown and its first Philippine Cup title since 2001, while Alaska is eyeing its 15th championship and first all-Filipino crown since 2000.
Alaska sent the best-of-seven title series to a winner-take-all showdown after rallying back from a 14-point first quarter deficit to turn back San Miguel, 87-76, last Sunday.
The loss marked the third time the Beermen blew away twin digit leads after similarly melting down in Games One and Three.
Coach Leo Austria though isn’t losing hope at all on his team, saying the do-or-die game will give the Beermen a chance to redeem themselves.
But he admitted the opportunity to win the all-Filipino crown has been reduced to a ‘50-50.’
“Luckily, we have a chance, but it’s a 50-50 chance. So Game Seven, it’s 50-50, we don’t know what will happen. Pero kanya-kanyang adjustment yan, baka yun ang trending,” said Austria on the eve of the all-important match.
The 56-year-old San Miguel coach admitted the idea of closing out the series in Game Six may have done more harm than good for the team after spending all its energy to deal the killer blow as early as the first half.
“(Our guys) were aiming to win the championship. Their adrenaline and emotions were high and maybe yes, they spent it all so early (in the first half of Game Six),” said Austria.
“We ran out of fuel in the second half and you see that Alaska’s intensity didn’t change from start to finish.”
But the two-day break gave the Beermen enough time to recuperate after engaging the Aces in a defensive battle for the first six games.
Meantime, Alaska coach Alex Compton, gunning for his first PBA championship, believed he’s got players who won’t easily give up.
“We’ve been through so much with this (San Miguel) team that I wasn’t giving up. (When San Miguel led by 14 points in Game Six) I just told the guys to just chip (the Beermen lead) away, try to get a stop, it’s just too early (to give up),” he said.
“For me, it’s just believing in the character of these guys. They just come out and never stopped playing.”