PBA rivals start hunt-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
MANILA—Petron Blaze and San Mig Coffee, the top two seeded teams at the end of the elimination, clash in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Finals series of the 38th PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City today.
Both coaches Gee Abanilla of Petron and Tim Cone of San Mig admitted odds are about even when they face each other at 8 p.m. Petron, formerly San Miguel Beer, is the winningest team in the league with 19 conference titles. San Mig, formerly Purefoods, has nine crowns, the last was the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup already under Tim Cone.
The Blaze Boosters, one of the original member of the league when it opened in 1975, are also aiming for their fifth Governors Cup crown, the last was in 2011 under a rookie coach Ato Agustin.
This time, the Blaze Boosters, now under rookie coach Gee Abanilla, will be facing the Coffee Mixers handled by a veteran mentor in Cone, who is aiming for his 15th title to match the record of the legendary Baby Dalupan.
The 56-year-old Cone steered Alaska to its only Grandslam in 1996.
This is also the sixth meeting in a PBA finals between the two franchise. The last time the two met was in 2000 when San Miguel Beer won, 4-1.
“Petron played in contrast to our style. They have deep talents. But I’m sure, we can match it. In the elimination, we were not beaten by a big margin. It was a close match. We will try to win couple of games to add pressure on them,” said Cone, who had also four Governors Cup titles and steered the national team to the Jones Cup crown in 1998.
The 47-year-old Abanilla, a former De La Salle Archers head coach who replaced Olsen Racela just in this conference, is aware on the pressure of having a heavily talented crew.
“Being in the Finals really boosted our confidence. We are headed towards the right direction and the situation now is very positive for the team. What is important is we have chemistry,” said Abanilla.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 11, 2013.