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Kings-Bolts: Revenge or repeat

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone (left) and Meralco counterpart Norman Black shake hands before PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and players of both camps bracing for what promises to be a thrilling rematch of the PBA Governors Cup Finals beginning Friday. JOEY MENDOZA

Game Friday (Lucena)

7 p.m. Ginebra vs Meralco

MANILA, Philippines — Titleholder Barangay Ginebra and challenger Meralco hope to wage a dream championship in the 2017 PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven finale that fires off Friday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.

The Kings are determined to defend the crown while the Bolts are aching to exact revenge and finally win its first ever PBA crown.

It’s a rematch between two teams that have stayed on top of their game from their championship showdown last year.

PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa sees a series that will be a great treat to the fans with the two teams ready to mix it up to win.

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“I’m glad to be part of this finale. You can feel the energy. I never felt this before,” said Narvasa, sitting in the middle of the two teams facing the sports media in a pre-finals press conference at Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood City yesterday.

The Kings and the Bolts spoke out their desire to beat one another.

“We came up short in the all-Filipino finals against San Miguel. The loss to San Miguel makes us hungry to win this,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

“I’ve been here in the PBA for about 10 years, and you never know when this opportunity comes. The whole experience is great, and you have to make the most of it,” said Ginebra forward Joe Devance.

Greg Slaughter is eager to provide a push after missing their title run last year due to an injury.

Coach Norman Black and his troops, meanwhile, said they’re looking at no other options but deliver a first crown to the Meralco franchise.

“We have experienced to be in the finals last year. The next goal is to win the championship,” said Black.

“The last time around, I felt we’re taking in the moment as first timers in the finals. I thought this time around, it’s gonna be different. We’ve had the whole year to prepare for this. This time around, it’s not just being in the championship, we’re here to win it,” said Chris Newsome.

Another motivation for the Bolts is to win the crown for team governor Al Panlilio who’s been out for a while now attending a medical condition.

“At the start of the conference, we got together and talked about winning the tourney for Governor Al who’s very much involved with planning and everything in our team,” said team manager Paolo Trillo.

Jared Dillinger has a personal goal to win it for her grandmother.

“For me, it’s been a tough couples of months. My mamang is fighting to stay alive to watch the finals. If we win, it would be for her. All goes out to her,” said Dillinger.

After winning six titles with TNT KaTropa, Ranidel de Ocampo wants to have a championship ride with Meralco.

Another trade recruit Garvo Lanete and rookie Chris Tolomia make the Bolts a different team from the Meralco squad beaten by Ginebra last year on a thriller of a triple at the buzzer by import Justin Browlee.

NOTES: Kiefer Ravena has formally joined the PBA draft, submitting his draft application yesterday through his agent Marvin Espiritu. Ravena, the ace guard of the Philippine team in the recent SEA Games in Malaysia and also the lead playmaker of Chooks To Go Pilipinas in the succeeding FIBA Asia Champions Cup in China, could go as high as No. 2 – or even No. 1 – in the PBA draft. In joining the PBA, he has effectively given up on his NBA dream. He had worked out with the Texas Legends as a developmental player in 2016 with hopes of breaking the lineup of the team then gaining the attention of NBA teams.

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