Why does it always have to be the hard way? For the 3rd conference in a row, Ginebra enters the playoff rounds as the lower seeded team. Although, I’m starting to have this nagging feeling that they actually prefer it that way.
This time around though, facing the top seeded Petron team will be one of the hardest challenges anybody could wish for. This is not the same team that popularized the term Petronovela. This Petron team is for REAL as they have a perfect import who fits their team very well, while also running their offense around Fajardo and Lassiter while getting good production from their other role players. I could go on and on about this team, but the bottom line is this. Petron is a team that is just too deep and talented.
Ginebra must continue to play with a sense of urgency. They have their backs against the wall and this kind of situation is familiar to them. They just need to focus on their strengths which is run and gun and cover their weaknesses which is the power forward spot.
Keys of the game:
1. The fourth Man
Who will be the next guy who will deliver after the big three? Chris Ellis provided it last game. Aside from Ellis, the Kings still have Mac Baracael, Jayjay Helterbrand and even Billy Mamaril who can all have break-out games.
2. Will Millsap Miss?
Ever since Elijah Millsap arrived here in the Philippines he has been on target and has gotten Petron to play their best brand of basketball. Can somebody stop him? Ginebra’s wing defenders will have their hands full against Millsap.
3. Tinyente MVP
Ginebra’s faith will be in the hands of their point guard La Tenorio. As long as tinyente is playing his usual game then Ginebra will have a chance against any team in this league. Yes, he needs help, but it has to start from him.
KeyMatch-up: LA Tenorio vs. Arwind Santos
They will not guard each other as they play different positions, but the thing that binds them now is the MVP award. Arwind Santos has a long shot at this award but if he eliminates LA and Ginebra, he may just have a chance.
This will be hard for me and I will swallow my pride and accept the fact that Petron is the better team and they could beat Ginebra easily. But, if (and that’s a BIG IF), Ginebra could control the pace and come out strong they could snatch this win and force a rubber match. I’ll go for Petron but I won’t be surprised if Ginebra, with all its heart, beats another giant.