GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin describes the epic battle between Alaska and San Miguel on Wednesday for the historic Game 7 of the PBA Philippine Cup as a classic showdown fans would not want to miss.
Unfortunately, he won't be there to witness it first hand.
“I think Game 7 is going to be absolutely epic,” the Gilas mentor told reporters during the Spin.ph Sportsman of the Year awards night last Saturday at the Marriott Grand Ballroom.
“I would love to have a front row seat for that. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of the country,” said Baldwin, who flies to the United States for an endeavor related to Ateneo this week.
What started out as a runaway matchup has become an instant classic series for the PBA Philippine Cup. Alaska rolled to a 3-0 series lead but San Miguel has stormed back to force a first-ever Game 7 from such deficit, moving closer to becoming the first team in the PBA to come back from three games down to win the title.
However, Baldwin shied away from picking a winner as both teams feature vital personalities to the Gilas Pilipinas national team he handles — particularly June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel and Calvin Abueva of Alaska, while Aces coach Alex Compton is part of Baldwin’s coaching staff.
Still, his neutrality did not stop him from heaping praise on the achievements of both squads.
“It’s a great series. You really have to admire San Miguel fighting back. It’s so easy to give up in those situations, I can tell you. Everybody knew they were capable of that. But doing it is something else,” said Baldwin.
On the other hand, Baldwin knows that Alaska is capable of coming away with the most important win of the season despite losing what seemed like an insurmountable lead.
“This Alaska team, one thing they do is defy expectations every time,” said Baldwin, who will have to settle for replays to relive the 'epic' showdown between the Beermen and the Aces in Game 7.