IT seems there’s no stopping Ginebra from trampling over hard-luck TNT and running off with the PBA Philippine Cup championship.
Apart from the sterling plays of their main men the Kings just got another big break, putting them on the cusp of ending a 13-year title drought in the import-less tournament at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Gym in Angeles City.
Ginebra’s 98-88 victory last Sunday gave the Kings a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and could close it all out with another win tomorrow, Wednesday.
The Kings taking home their first Philippine Cup title since 2007 looms a very distinct possibility, considering Jayson Castro just joined Bobby Ray Parks as big question marks for the Tropang Giga.
“I don’t know what Jayson’s status is and Bobby Ray’s, but they’re down a couple of really, really key players,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said moments after the Game 4 win.
“That would be like us losing Scottie (Thompson) and Stanley (Pringle),” added Cone, “and how difficult would it be for us to win without Scottie and Stanley?”
Parks has already missed the series’ last three matches due to a left calf strain and Castro, who was also favoring his own calf during the eliminations, joined him in the course of last Sunday’s game.
The 34-year-old was already visibly in pain in the first half, but plodded on before things turned from bad to worse. After attacking the rim and leaping for a drop pass to Poy Erram underneath, he practically dragged himself to the baseline railing at the 9:35 mark of the third quarter.
He needed help from teammates Harvey Carey and Jayjay Alejandro to make it back to the bench.
The Gilas Pilipinas icon did not return, leaving the game with just two points, two assists and a rebound, well short of his averages of 13.3 points and 7.0 assists in the series’ first three games, including 15 markers and 10 dimes in an 88-67 win in Game 3.
“His knee bone spur is bothering him. Papatanggal after this conference,” TNT coach Bong Ravena texted a few hours after the loss.
“Day-to-day siya. We’ll see if kaya on Wednesday,” added Ravena. “If not, next man up.”
Castro’s departure came with TNT trailing 41-56, a difference Ginebra later padded to as much as 18 points.