MANILA, Philippines – The moment the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers ousted the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters in the quarterfinals and punched their ticket for a semifinal clash with sister team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, talks about the series being "fixed" or "scripted" almost immediately surfaced.
Whether it was on social media or on the train, there were always talks and accusations about the series. People swore the sister teams somehow make sure the series reached Game 7 and only then will they finally play without any sort of "script" or "fix."
However, the multi-titled San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone finally addressed the common "fixed" perception, saying that it is "unfair for people to think or say that."
Barely 24 hours after his team put away Ginebra for good in the gruelling semis series that went the distance, Cone spoke up about how those accusations reduce the value of their hardwork for the team and the game.
"It's an issue that I don't dwell on," he said. "But one thing that I will say about that is if that's really the case and that's really what's happening, then that's really unfair to all of us who work our butts off every day and these guys here."
He added, "It just detracts from what we do, the players, the coaches and all the hardwork we put into it."
And since the series reached Game 7, even more fans online seemed to think the accusations held merit.
But Cone opened up about the series was difficut for them, especially in Game 6 when they lost by 3 points, 94-91, as they failed to end the series right then and there.
"We worked really, really hard in that Game 7. The stress, the hardships and the heartbreak we go through," he explained. "Game 6 was a really difficult pill for us to swallow. We really had a hard time at the locker room that day."
Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner Chito Salud also spoke up, stressing that everyone in the PBA understands their responsibility to the fans to deliver honest and action-packed games.
"All of our teams in the PBA understand their sacred responsibility to play the game and give the fans unmitigated, pure action, day in and day out, which our fans expect and demand," Salud explained.
"For any of our teams to fool around with that responsibility at the expense of their corporate image will be foolhardy. These teams are playing their guts out day in and day out and this is all for the fans."
Cone, whose team will be facing the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a best-of-7 Finals for the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup title on Friday, added that he and his team simply let those accusations slide and go on with what they are doing.
"So the perception is out there but it's not something that we dwell on or something that we believe in. Again, it just takes away from the hard work that we put into the game." – Rappler.com