MANILA, Philippines – Renaldo Balkman felt San Miguel did not lose Game 5 of the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals to Barangay Ginebra, especially after the final 3 minutes he called the "wildest thing I've seen in my life."
The Puerto Rican import expressed his frustrations on the officiating after the Beermen were kept scoreless in the final 3 minutes of their 83-87 loss on Sunday, August 5, that gave the Gin Kings a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
"Games 1 through 4, and all of a sudden, you get Game 5 and you come out to the bottom and gonna get no call?" a vexed Balkman told reporters after the game.
"That's the wildest thing I've seen in my life."
The Beermen were groomed to take the series lead as they led 83-78 with 3 minutes remaining until the Gin Kings unloaded a 9-0 spurt – with 6 straight points coming from Scottie Thompson – en route to the triumph.
"You have two offensive rebounds and still get called? Last 3 minutes gonna get no calls at all?" Balkman added.
The 34-year-old old import was referring to a play where he hauled down two offensive boards within the final minute and missed two heavily contested putbacks.
Balkman's teammate, June Mar Fajardo, corralled an offensive board right after and was fouled during a putback attempt. He, however, missed both of his freebies – shots that would have made a difference in the endgame.
"We got to win. We didn't lose that game. We didn't lose. We did not lose that tonight. It wasn't on us tonight – that was definite. But, all I do to tell my guys, man, keep their heads up, keep on fighting, you know?"
Even with their backs against the walls and the momentum on Ginebra's side, Balkman has not lost hope.
"Lucky that we have one more chance at Game 7. I mean it's not over yet. I know there's a lot of you counting us out. I have to tell you right now, don't count us out at all," he said.
San Miguel looks to force a rubber match in Game 6 on Wednesday, August 8, at the Mall of Asia Arena. – 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.