GINEBRA players were already on the court as early as 10 a.m. before retreating to the viewing room for a review of Game Five of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. Later they were back on the hardwood to fine-tune their sets on both ends.
This went on for three hours.
So what’s usually a light practice on the eve of a gameday turned out to be the opposite on Tuesday as the Gin Kings seek to finish off Meralco in Game Six of the best-of-seven series on Wednesday night at the Philippine Arena.
Sol Mercado, despite wearing a boot to protect his sprained left ankle, still managed to join the team by taking some shots on one side of the court.
“We went pretty hard,” the injured guard said. “We’re looking at it as a do-or-die game tomorrow. We’ve been looking at it like that every single game – it’s one game at a time, so we only think about this one game.
“And like coach says, putting it all into this one game like it’s the last,” he added.
The training session took longer than expected as head coach Tim Cone pored over the details as they seek to close the series out on Wednesday.
“More on details naman yung ano ni coach Tim,” Scottie Thompson said. “Sinisigurado niya na wala makakalimutan para sa preparation para bukas sa game, and sinisiguro niya na ready kami bukas, at the same time, nag-viewing pa kami.”
Cone, however, played down the heavy practice, saying it has been their routine whether on the eve of a big game or not.
“I wouldn’t call it a heavy practice, but we worked on a few things,” Cone said. “You have to get guys ready. If you just sit around, sit around, and then you’re going to get loose and soft, so we had to get them out and get the blood flowing, and make them think and work on something.”
“I certainly hope (we can close it out), but we’re not trying to make a statement or anything; this is the way we do it,” he added. “This has been our MO, so we’re just trying to get ourselves ready. We know they’re going to be ready.”
But after the relatively heavy training session, Thompson is hoping this would be their last for the season.
“Sana. We’re hoping na ito na last practice,” the sophomore sensation said with a smile. “Pero hindi madali, kasi alam natin Meralco, talagang lalaban at lalaban 'yan, at hindi basta-basta bibigay, especially (Allen) Durham, talagang bubuhatin niya yung team niya.”
Mercado echoed his teammates’ sentiment.
“Only God knows (if this will be our last practice), but sana,” he said.