Sports

Brgy. Ginebra and Bay Area finish off their opponents in the semifinals, kicking off the title fight on Christmas Day


Justin Brownlee Ginebra PBA

Barangay Ginebra striker Justin Brownlee. PBA . IMAGES

The Bay Area’s quest to end guest involvement in the PBA with a championship will come through one of the league’s top teams and its legion of fans.

The Dragons and Barangay Ginebra set up an intriguing battle for the Commissioner’s trophy after their semi-final on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, with their lavishly decorated coaches gearing up for a difficult struggle.

The two teams kick off the title chase on Christmas Day, with the best-of-seven series going to be a new matchup for Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist and Australian National Basketball League champion mentor Brian Goorjian.

“Nothing but respect for [Ginebra coach] Tim Cone, nothing but respect for that team,” Goorjian said after Bay Area beat San Miguel Beer in a Grand Slam match with a 94-92 win in game four of the semifinals. “They dominated the semi-finals, they dominated the quarterfinals, they dominated their end of the season, they dominated us the first time against us.”

The kings will be the last of the local teams at this convention, looking to prevent the Dragons from adding to the list of away teams that have won the PBA title. The last of these was the Northern Consolidated Cement (NCC), which the late great coach Ron Jacobs directed to the 1985 Strengthening Conference.

Jacobs and NCC naturalized player Dennis Still are acquaintances of Goorjian’s father, who recently passed away, which adds an extra layer of affection to his duties as manager of the Australian national team.

The Dragons will enter the Finals as the favorites, but will also carry the scars of the 111-93 defeat they received at the hands of the Kings, who made the team lose their first game here. .

But the Bay Area has shown significant improvement since then, as evidenced by their 3-1 defeat of San Miguel in a three-man match. And the Dragons look forward to continuing that growth.

“I hope that we get better, hopefully we have a chance to prepare until the 25th and there will be no excuses,” Goorjian said. “I’ve never been to the NBA, I’ve never been in a series of seven games.”

Ginebra took down enemies in the Magnolia semifinals also in four games, with a score of 99-84 on Wednesday night securing a place in the Finals.

And Cone did not put too much expectation on the Dragon conquest in the elimination round of the Kings.

“I think that surprised us more than it surprised them, in terms of how we beat them like we did,” Cone said as he tried to claim his 25th PBA crown. record before Goorjian.

Also looking to stretch the record is Justin Brownlee, who will bet on his unbeaten run in a Finals. Brownlee has won all five previous championships.

“It feels good every time. The feeling certainly doesn’t get old,” said Brownlee, after scoring 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists to finish off Magnolia and improve her chances of a third Import of the Year award. . “Just getting to the final, that’s the same feeling.”

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