MANILA, Philippines – Although sister teams, expect San Miguel and Magnolia to pull out all the stops in outdueling each other for the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup title.
The Beermen and the Hotshots made it perfectly clear: neither one will give an inch as they tangle in a best-of-seven championship affair.
"Gusto naming manalo. Walang bigayan ito. Hindi naman habang buhay maglalaro ng basketball. Chance namin manalo ng championship," said San Miguel star center June Mar Fajardo.
(We want to win. No one will give way. It's not your whole life that you can play basketball. This is our chance to win a championship.)
"'Di na babalik 'yung moment na ito eh. Iba na naman next year. Habang puwede kaming manalo ng championship, iga-grab namin yan. Hindi pwedeng ibibigay lang namin."
(You can't bring this moment back. Next year will be different. As long as we can win a championship, we will grab that chance. We will not just give it away.)
While history is at stake for the Beermen as the first PBA team to win the All-Filipino title for a fifth straight season, team governor Robert Non noted that a hefty bonus provides an added motivation.
"Bawat team, may kaniya-kaniyang kontrata. Kung talo ka, wala kang bonus. Kung panalo ka, may bonus ka. Ganoon lang kasimple," Non said.
(Each team has a contract. If you lose, you don't get to receive a bonus. If you win, you are rewarded a bonus. That's how simple it is.)
"Imposible namang hatiin nila. Magpapakamatay pa bang maglaro 'yan kung hahatiin lang. May the best team win."
(It's impossible for the two teams to divide the bonuses. They will not fight tooth and nail just to have their bonuses divided. May the best team win.)
Hotshots governor Rene Pardo echoed Non's sentiments.
"Hindi magbibigayan itong mga ito. Magpapakamatay itong mga players para makuha 'yung bonus. Kung pwede ibigay nila June Mar 'yung bonus nila sa amin, okay lang 'yun," Pardo said.
(Not one team will give an inch. The players will give it their all just to win and get the bonus. But if June Mar and the rest give us their bonus, then why not.)
Although sidelined by injury for the rest of the championship duel, Magnolia forward Marc Pingris aired his side on the issue.
"Noong nag-start ako maglaro ng basketball, ice tubig lang nakikipagpatayan ako, maigi pa kaya na medyo malaki 'yung makukuha namin na bonus," Pingris said.
(When I started playing basketball, I always gave it my all for the prize of cold water. What more now that we will get a bonus if we win.)
"Ang sinabi naman ni Paul (Lee), hindi bonus eh, 'yung pride 'yung pinaglalaban."
(For Paul Lee, he says it's not about the bonus, it's about fighting for your pride.)
If there is anything both teams will give to each other, San Miguel coach Leo Austria believes it would be cheap shots.
"Regarding sa bigayan, naniniwala ako na nagbibigayan ito pagdating ng laro –nagtitirahan sila, nagbibigayan ng siko at tadyak," Austria said with a grin.
(I believe that the players will give nothing but elbows and kicks.)
Game 1 is slated on Wednesday, May 1, at the Araneta Coliseum. – 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.