Make no mistake, Folks. Not even a reloaded Bolts team can dethrone the champs.
Game 1 was a glimpse of what we can expect from the Gin Kings. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If anything, the Gin Kings were just beginning to scratch the surface when they drew the first blood in the best-of-7 championship series against the Meralco Bolts after Ginebra held a double-digit lead and won, 102-87 in front of mostly pro-Ginebra fans in Lucena.
Check out: First game of Ginebra vs Meralco
If you were watching the game, then you know how things transpired beginning from the very moment Japeth Aguilar slammed it home during the early minutes of the first quarter to energize the crowd. During the big chunk of the game, dominance had been the theme of the game as the Bolts fell behind, came back in the 3rd quarter, but faltered for good in the 4th quarter.
If the Bolts go on to lose Game 2, too, if they don't start making smarter shot selections, it will be a SWEEP for the Gin Kings.
Why sweep? Let this basketball pundit on wheels explain to you the reasons why Ginebra will win the championship in 4 games, 5 at max:
1. Height is Might
This is perhaps one of the most obvious advantages that Ginebra has over Meralco. Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, dubbed as the Gin Kings' Twin Towers, stand 7 feet and 6 feet 9 inches respectively. Joe Devance is not far away with a 6 feet 7 inches height. Import Justin Brownlee also stands at 6 feet 7 inches. So, literally and figuratively speaking, the big men of Ginebra are indeed BIG MEN.
As painful as it is to read, Allen Durham only stands at 6 feet 6 inches, tied as being the tallest Bolt player aside from Bryan Faundo, Kelly Nabong who is suspended indefinitely, and Ranidel De Ocampo whom we all know is more of a 3 than 4 or 5. The next tallest? The injured Ken Bono.
Now you know why Ginebra also won the rebounding battle in Game 1, holding a 59-40 rebounding edge.
2. Ginebra is More DISCIPLINED
If you are playing for the winningest coach in the history of the PBA in Tim Cone, then you must be disciplined. Why? Discipline attracts success better than talent alone.
In Game 1, Ginebra was the more disciplined squad with regards to their shot selection. Unlike the Bolts who were missing more than half of their attempts especially from rainbow country, Ginebra made 40 of their 87 shot attempts- good enough for a respectable 45% field goal shooting. And since they were in the lead almost throughout the series opener, the defending champs knew there was no need to rush those attempts from the three-point line as shown by their 7 of 18 shooting from long distance.
Meralco on the other hand, had 8 makes from three but took 34 tries. No wonder why Norman Black was mad.
3. The Brownlee Effect
The Bolts will never forget Justin Brownlee for that buzzer-beating trey in last season's Game 6 of the Governors' Cup Finals which clinched Ginebra's first title in 8 years. Sure, Allen Durham is poised to win a second successive Best Import award but Justin Brownlee's familiarity and longevity with the Gin Kings and the system of Tim Cone is one of the many reasons why Ginebra was able to reach the Finals anew. In addition to this, the bond that Brownlee has developed with the rest of the Ginebra players plays an important role especially in this series primarily because of the presence of the trust among players, especially during clutch situations.
While we can expect a Meralco fightback come Game 2, while we can expect multiple adjustments from both teams, one thing is certain: whether you're a die-hard fan of the Gin Kings or a bitter hater, Ginebra, one way or another, will win this season's Governors' Cup championship. It's not because of the free throws disparity or the fouls. It's not because of the lack of talent of the Bolts. It's simply because of the fact that Ginebra is a taller and a well-coached team compared to Meralco.
And, let's not forget the masked man, Kevin Ferrer.
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