PBA: No let-up for Meralco in last elims game against Ginebra

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2021 06:48 PM

Less than 24 hours after playing NLEX, the Meralco Bolts will be back in action against Barangay Ginebra.
Less than 24 hours after playing NLEX, the Meralco Bolts will be back in action against Barangay Ginebra. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- There will be no let-up for the Meralco Bolts on Thursday when they play Barangay Ginebra, even though they are already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage.

Meralco wrapped up the second seed in the quarterfinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup after edging the NLEX Road Warriors, 104-101, on Wednesday. 

They will then have less than 24 hours to rest and recover before taking on the Gin Kings on Thursday at 2 p.m.

"Definitely, it would be more mental than physical. We do not have any practices in between tonight and tomorrow," Meralco coach Norman Black said of their preparation for the defending All-Filipino champions.

"It will probably be more on the coaches to get their jobs done mentally, and to come up with a video that we can show to the players, try to prepare them for the game against Ginebra tomorrow," he added.

"But definitely, physically, we won't be doing very much before the game."

Regardless of the result of Thursday's game, Meralco is already secure of its spot in the playoffs. The same cannot be said for Ginebra, which has labored to a 4-6 win-loss slate and is in danger of missing the quarterfinals.

A victory will put Ginebra into a tie with NLEX, with both teams finishing at 5-6. However, a loss will put the Gin Kings in a tie with Phoenix Super LPG and TerraFirma (4-7). The Alaska Aces (3-6) can make the situation even more complicated depending on the results of their last two games. 

Although they are in different situations, Black vowed their approach to the game will remain the same.

"We have a little bit of a one-sided rivalry against Ginebra," said Black, whose team has lost to the Gin Kings in two Governors' Cup Finals and again in last season's All-Filipino Cup semifinals.

"But our games (are) always competitive. They're always tough. So, I'm expecting the same thing tomorrow," he said.

"All I can tell you is that we'll be there to win the basketball game, even if we've already qualified for the twice-to-beat. We'll be there to beat Ginebra tomorrow," Black stressed.

Ginebra is already certain to miss versatile guard Scottie Thompson, who was dropped to the injured/reserve list on Tuesday. According to Ginebra coach Tim Cone, Thompson is currently under the PBA's health and safety protocols.