Losing the No. 1 seed is not too big in history with Ginebra

Tim Cone Ginebra PBA

Barangay Ginebra coaches Tim Cone in the meantime. PBA . IMAGES

History backs Barangay Ginebra even after failing to get the No. 1 seed into the PBA Governors’ Cup knockouts starting on Sunday.

The two-time defeated Gin Kings managed to eliminate the NLEX Road Warriors at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and take another step on the road to the season-ending grand prix championship.

The quest for a third consecutive Governors Cup and eighth title under Ginebra coach Tim Cone will have to be done as the third seed, after squandering a huge lead over TNT two nights earlier at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

A win by at least 5 points will give Ginebra the highest ranking and a match against the supposedly light opponent in 8th place Phoenix. It will instead play against sixth-placed NLEX, who made Ginebra a good fit despite losing in the elimination attempt.

“We knew we were going to play on Sunday regardless of our seed, so we were careful with the minutes of our key man, Justin. [Brownlee]Scottie [Thompson]Christians [Standhardinger]etc,” Cone explained on Saturday.

“Despite the loss, we felt we had the rhythm we wanted after taking a break from All-Star week. We know NLEX is extremely difficult. They have a dominant import [Wayne Selden Jr.] and a great help around him in [Kevin] Alas, [Don] Trollano and rapid improvement [Brandon] Ganuelas-Rosser. We’re going to have to bring our A-game to have a chance to beat them.”

With the exception of the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble, Ginebra won the championship without the luxury #1 spot. The Gin Kings dominated the 2016 and 2017 editions of this season’s Governors Cup and Commissioners Cup after placing third in qualifying.

New entry

Enter the new convergence Tom Vodanovich.  –FIBA BOOTBALL

Enter the new convergence Tom Vodanovich. –FIBA BOOTBALL

Gin Kings placed fifth in the 2018 Commissioners Cup, fourth in the 2019 Governors Cup and sixth in last year’s Governors Cup, but ended up enjoying the joy of winning over staunch supporters of the Surname.

It’s something Ginebra hopes to do again as the action is supposed to reach another boiling point.

Ginebra and NLEX meet at 6:45pm after the quarterfinal opening match between No.2 San Miguel Beer and No.7 Convergence at 4:30pm

An under siege Converge team tries to push San Miguel into a decisive position with rookie Tom Vodanovich, who has replaced Jamaal Franklin after angering coach Aldin Ayo and the board with his performance against Ginebra in the team’s knockout round.

Franklin tried just five pictures despite being a high-octane scorer for the FiberXers in the eliminations and Converge opted to replace him with a member of the New Zealand national team.

Convergence win the knockout round meet, 107-103, last February 11 after Franklin, but San Miguel will go into the match with a quarter-final spot.

Ginebra lacing NLEX, 114-111, in a thriller on February 8 despite having to overcome a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes thanks to a timely strike from rookie Jeremiah Gray.

Selden and Trollano eagerly make up for their demise and force the Gin Kings into a life-or-death situation.

The other two quarterfinals are set for Wednesday, also at the historic Big Dome, with No. 4 Meralco against No. 5 Magnolia and No. 1 TNT against No. 8 Phoenix.

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