GOVERNORS’ Cup arch foes Barangay Ginebra and Meralco bring their seething rivalry back to the Philippine Cup, clashing in one of the two best-of-three quarterfinals matchups beginning Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Kings have been the dominant side with a 4-of-4 conquest of the Bolts in title showdowns in the import-laced conference plus a victory in their all-Filipino semis face-off in the Clark bubble in 2020.
But coach Tim Cone and his Ginebra troops are not looking back in the past and would rather focus on the task at hand, hoping to be able to raise the level of their play in anticipation of a tough battle between the two middle seeds.
“We have a huge task ahead,” said Cone, noting the Bolts have been improving and must be getting hungrier each passing tourney.
Then Cone also mentioned the health woes of Japeth Aguilar (still smarting from a recent dengue fever) and Arvin Tolentino (out for the rest of the conference with an injury).
Still, Cone said their elims run marked by eight wins against three losses have made them ready for the playoffs.
“We’re coming in with a little bit of spunk. We are where we wanted to be at this point,” said Cone, believing Scottie Thompson, Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio and the rest of the Ginebra crew are physically and mentally ready to slug it out with the Bolts.
“I hope it would be exciting and I hope for the same results we got in the past,” said Cone.
“But they seem to be getting better and better as we play them, and they get more and more confident every time we play them. It’s like holding back the wave. You can hold on to the wave just for so long. We understand that, we realize that, and we’ve got to keep battling as a team and see what happens,” Cone added.
The Gin Kings, at fourth behind San Miguel, TNT and Magnolia, finished one rung ahead of the Bolts in the elims, but Meralco was triumphant in their elims clash, pulling off a 90-73 rout on July 13.