(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs. Ginebra
Game 1 -- Magnolia def. Ginebra, 106-98.
Game 2 --Magnolia def. Ginebra, 101-97.
In what could be its final game of the season, two-time defending champion Barangay Ginebra hopes to come up with its patented never-say die spirit in Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinal series against Magnolia in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings need nothing less than a victory against the Hotshots in their 7 p.m. encounter to keep their bid for third straight finals appearance in the season-ending, import-flavored conference.
A loss would mean the end of the season for the league’s most popular team.
“Definitely, we have to bring back that attitude ( never-say-die),” said Ginebra import Justin Brownlee.
“The more important thing now is how we approached the game. It’s just not knowing offense and defense, but we have to execute.”
The same never-say-die spirit of Ginebra is also what’s keeping Magnolia coach Chito Victolero worried.
“Winning two games is nothing. We have to win three games (against Ginebra),” said Victolero,who is hoping to lead the Hotshots to their seconds finals appearance this season.
League records also show that since the best-of-five semis was institutionalized in 1993, all but one of 37 teams which went up 2-0 won the series.
But recent history is also fresh on Victolero’s mind.
Ginebra is also the only team to dig itself out of such a 0-2 hole once in a similar race-to-three duel, during its controversy-filled 2010 Philippine Cup quarterfinals series with Talk N Text.
Victolero also recalled the Hotshots had been in similar situation before also against the Gin Kings.
It can be recalled that during the last season’s Philippine Cup best-of-seven semis, the Hotshots, (then still known as Star), also stormed to a 3-2 lead before Kings beat them twice to clinch the series.
“I have asked my players to remember that (semis loss),” said Victolero.
“We’ve experienced that before and we’ll try our best na sana makuha namin iyung pangatlong panalo.”