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San Miguel, Ginebra expect long, gruelling PBA Finals series

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
07:14 PM July 24, 2018

PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals between San Miguel Beermen and Ginebra Gin Kings. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

The PBA Finals is still three days away from tipoff but in a title series featuring two seemingly evenly-matched teams in San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra, a Game 7 is expected.

“I won’t be surprised if this goes to a Game 7,” said San Miguel Beer governor Robert Non during the pre-finals press conference on Tuesday.

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“I think it’s just gonna be a really tough series and usually, really tough series’ end up being a long series,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “We’ll prepare for seven and with that in mind, we’re gonna go out and try to play each game at a time.”

There are many reasons to believe why the Beermen and the Gin Kings could likely go the full distance.

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Roster wise, the two teams are not only loaded in talent, they boast two of the biggest lineups in the league as well. Their respective imports in Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee and San Miguel’s Renaldo Balkman are also do-it-all forwards.

The two teams also took similar roads to the finals. Both squads surprisingly opened the conference at the bottom of the standings before finding their groove late in the elimination round just in time to make the playoffs and hit their stride in the semifinals, ousting their higher-ranked foes in four games.

“Ginebra is the hottest team in the league right now. They’ve won 10 of their last 11 games,” said SMB coach Leo Austria, wary of the kind of challenge Ginebra presents.

Austria is six-for-six in the finals and is aiming to steer San Miguel to its seventh crown in 11 conferences, but he swears this championship clash with Ginebra is different from the rest.

“It’s nice to be back here again and again and again,” he said. “This series is very interesting. It’s very different right now because we’re up against a very strong team.”

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