Apr 09, 2019

A thriller, that's the only sure thing about this Magnolia-Ginebra do-or-die game

Only one between the Commissioner's Cup champ and the Governors Cup titlist will stay alive and proceed in pursuit of another crown after this match.

Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia Pambansang Manok slug it out for one last time Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to decide the worthy team that will battle second seed Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup Final Four.

After engaging in a pair of lopsided matches, the Kings and the Hotshots could finally clash in a grind-out duel as they are expected to pour everything in the deciding match in their best-of-three quarters showdown.

The Kings reigned with an 86-75 triumph in Game One then the Hotshots sizzled to a 106-77 rout in Game Two.

Game Three could be a question of desire and determination.

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"Kapag nadala namin ang parehong effort at desire na ipinakita namin sa Game Two, maganda ang chance namin," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

The Kings foresee a battle, and they say they must make their shots to overcome the scrappy Magnolia side.

The Hotshots forced the rubber as they put tremendous pressure on the Ginebra guards and at the same time clogged the lane on the Ginebra bigs.

"We must be able to hit some outside shots to open things up," said Greg Slaughter.

"We just got to get more of our teammates involved, try to set some people up, get some outside shots going so we could open up the inside."

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The Hotshots dealt the Kings terrible beating in Game Three with their 44.7-percent shooting complemented by a lockdown defense that shackled Ginebra's aces.

In fact, only Sol Mercado finished in double figures for the Kings. Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio were all held to five points each.

The Hotshots forced the Kings to 20 errors, and enjoyed a 26-12 advantage on points off turnovers.

In Game One, the Kings had their own sustained efficient effort as they stopped the Hotshots' three-game romp.

The Kings pummeled the Hotshots, 27-9, in the second period and roared on in the final half behind a well-balanced game that saw five Kings score in double figures, led by Slaughter and Aguilar who both ended with double-double numbers.

Slaughter then collected 15 points and 12 rebounds while Aguilar tallied 12 markers and 11 boards.

But then the Hotshots turned the tables on the Kings in the next game.

Thus the question is can the Hotshots keep the pace in the deciding match or can the Kings make their own turnaround.