BARANGAY Ginebra and Meralco refused to acknowledge their tags as favorite and underdog, respectively, insisting it’s going to be a pretty even matchup in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series.
At first glance, it looks like the odds are stacked in favor of the Gin Kings based on their talent depth and their 14-point beating of the Bolts in the elimination round.
Injured Bolts forward Jared Dillinger even confirmed the perception.
“I’m sure ninety-nine percent of you media and the fans are assuming Ginebra’s going to win it, but we’re going to make it a fun series,” said the star point forward, whose hamstring injury is evaluated day to day.
Bolts coach Norman Black understands the notion, but that won’t make him admit that they are the underdogs.
“I think it’s to be expected. We started off pretty roughly this year, but we’ve progressed and gotten better over the course of the year,” Black said. “But at same time, it’s our first time in the finals. And a lot of the Ginebra players have been there before and, of course, coach Tim, too, so I can understand that (we’re installed as the underdogs).”
“But the game is not played on the newspapers, so we’ll see how it turns out,” he was quick to add.
Gin Kings coach Tim Cone agreed, saying they are also far from being the favorites.
“I don’t think people are expecting us to win, I think the Ginebra crowd is hoping. I think it’s a big difference,” the champion coach said. “If it was my team (as a fan), I would be hoping that they would win, too. I’m a big fan of professional sports, too, and I’m dying that they win. I think that’s where things stand right now.”
“I think these two teams are so evenly matched that we mirror each other in the way we play,” he added. “We’re both in the top two in assists. We’re both defensive oriented. We make multiple passes, and we’re patient. I think the two teams play very similarly.”
The Gin Kings lead the tournament in assists with 25.6 a game, while the Bolts are second at 23.2.
Their reinforcements – Justin Brownlee and Allen Durham – are also neck and neck in the Best Import race.
“It can’t get any closer than that,” Bolts assistant coach Luigi Trillo told SPIN.ph.