MANILA, Philippines – Not even a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven affair is safe.
Just ask Tim Cone.
Cone was quick to point out that Barangay Ginebra has to remain on its toes even after seizing a 3-1 advantage against Meralco in the 2019-2020 PBA Governors' Cup finals.
The commanding lead could either set up a quick wrap-up of the title series or lead to a colossal meltdown – scenarios Cone is aware of.
After all, Cone was once at the wrong end of history of a comeback from a 1-3 series deficit when he and Alaska blew a commanding advantage to Purefoods in the semifinals of the 2006 Philippine Cup.
With that semifinals series tied at 3-3, Cone and the Aces ran out of steam and surrendered an excruciating 89-90 loss to the Chunkee Giants, who went on to win the championship, in Game 7.
"[I] think that has only happened a few times in PBA history and it happened to the team I coached so I'm well aware that a team can come back," Cone said.
"You just can't give them the momentum and the confidence that they'll be searching for," the winningest PBA coach added.
With Allen Durham in the fold, the Bolts have proven time and again they retaliate with a stronger punch when they are sent to the ropes.
In the 2017 Governors' Cup finals against the same team, Meralco lost the first two games but won the next two to level the series.
That series proved to be as close as it could get, with the Gin Kings narrowly winning the title in the do-or-die Game 7 by a measly 5 points.
In the Governors' Cup last year, the Bolts also showed resilience when it bounced back from a dismal 1-6 start to the conference by winning its next 6 games to advance to the semifinals.
"Any time a team gets their back to the wall, you know they're going to come out with a lot of fire," Cone said.
Ginebra has at least 3 tries to win its third Governors' Cup crown in the last 4 seasons, but it seeks to finish it as early as possible when it meets Meralco in Game 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, January 17. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.