MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra and Phoenix Super LPG will try to wrap up their respective semis series and arrange a best-of-seven clash in the Finals of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the AUF Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Gin Kings and the Fuel Masters both have 2-1 leads in their semis series against the Meralco Bolts and the TNT Tropang Giga, respectively.
The head coaches of both teams are anticipating tough games, however, as they expect their opponents to elevate their game in the must-win affair.
For Topex Robinson and the Fuel Masters, they are seeking to make it to the Finals for the first time as a franchise while also fulfilling their mission inside the PBA bubble. Robinson believes that while his team has already overachieved, the further they progress in the conference, the more lives they can touch.
"We are deeply humbled and blessed that we're in this situation, and more than anything else, it's about how are we gonna use our basketball as a platform to inspire a lot of people," said Robinson.
"The way we're playing right now, it's about inspiring others. If we could go to the finals and inspire a lot of people, that's what we're headed," he added. "So we're gonna stay here as long as we could, because we know that as long as we're gonna give our best, winning will be the byproduct of everything that we're doing."
Phoenix Super LPG will again lean on Calvin Abueva, who has been superb since his return from a yearlong suspension. Matthew Wright appears to be regaining his fitness after suffering a sprain in his right ankle in Game 1, while Justin Chua and Jason Perkins remain steady contributors for the Fuel Masters.
For TNT, the hope is that Roger Pogoy will find his shooting touch after making only three of 12 field goals in Game 3. Jayson Castro struggled as well, and Ray Parks was limited to 19 points after exploding for 41 in Game 2.
Game time is at 6:30 p.m.
Barangay Ginebra, meanwhile, will look to extend its mastery of the Bolts. The Gin Kings have beaten Meralco in their last three series, all of which took place in the finals of the PBA Governors' Cup. Just last January, they downed the Bolts in five games for their third title in four years.
But Ginebra coach Tim Cone is preparing for a determined Meralco team come Game 4.
"They're gonna come back," he predicted. "They have the most experienced coach in the PBA (in Norman Black)... They have a young, developing core that's just getting better and better."
Meralco has already bounced back in the series, trouncing Ginebra 95-77 in Game 2 after a 96-79 defeat in the first game. Cone says the key for them will be to at least match the Bolts' "great force" in Game 4, as he knows their rivals will be playing with desperation as their backs are against the wall.
"There's no magic," he said. "It's just a lot of hard work by the guys, getting ready mentally and physically to come out and play another game."
Stanley Pringle has been superb for the Gin Kings, but the Bolts will look to get more from Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan in order to extend the series.
Game time is at 3:45 p.m.