Last dance or go home
TNT’s Jayson Castro, with a pick from teammate Bobby Ray Parks, attacks the defense of Phoenix’ Brian Heruela and Calvin Abueva in their game Wednesday won by the Tropang Giga, 102-101.
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Last dance or go home

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2020 - 12:00am

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Philippines — It’s anybody’s game as the bubble’s “Big 4” duke it out in a pair of sudden deaths today to determine the final combatants for the vacant PBA Philippine Cup throne.

TNT and Phoenix settle the score while Ginebra and Meralco face off in a decisive battle that perfectly wraps up the well-fought race-to-three semifinals of the unique bubble tourney at the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G.

The Tropang Giga look to complete their fightback from a 1-2 deficit in the 3:45 p.m. fifth match in a bid to reach the All-Filipino’s Last Dance for the first time since winning the 2012-13 edition.

Rival Phoenix intends to make the most of its second chance for a breakthrough finals stint.

The Bolts have similar objectives as TNT and Phoenix in the 6:30 p.m. you-or-me encounter with the top-seeded Gin Kings.

Like TNT, Meralco aims to win back-to-back games to progress. And like Phoenix, coach Norman Black and company seek to reach the prestigious conference’s championship for the first time.

“Just like in our previous (quarterfinal) battle with (twice-to-beat five-peat champ) San Miguel, we have to win two games to move to the next stage,” said Black after their series-tying 83-80 verdict over Ginebra last Wednesday.

“We’re halfway through,” added Black, whose wards are also motivated to get back at Ginebra, their tormentors in three previous Governors’ Cup finals matchup.

Gin Kings mentor Tim Cone said they’re moving on from that bungled try in Game 4.

“We came up short, we’re not going to hang our heads. We just have to look forward and get ready for Game 5,” said the multi-titled coach, who’s aspiring to steer Ginebra to its first Philippine Cup finale since 2016.

TNT strategist Bong Ravena, meanwhile, hopes to get more from struggling Troy Rosario and Poy Erram, who were both non-factors in their 102-101 verdict last time.

“We have faith in them. We know they will step up and contribute in this important Game 5,” said Ravena, who also banks on Jayson Castro, Ray Parks Jr., Simon Enciso, and RR Pogoy to deliver.

Phoenix counterpart Topex Robinson, for his part, doesn’t want to burden Matthew Wright and the gang with so much pressure going to the decider.

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