No pulling punches between San Mig Coffee, Petron
MANILA, Philippines – It will be the first time in 13 years since sister teams San Mig Coffee and Petron Blaze faced each other in a title duel.
But PBA commissioner Chito Salud said it will be worth the wait as both teams are currently at their best going into the PBA governors’ Cup best-of-seven series.
“These two teams, without a doubt, are the most consistent team in the conference, and it’s not surprising that they’re meeting in the finals,” said Salud in the PBA website.
Several members of each squad, meanwhile, said being sister teams doesn’t mean they are going to take it easy against each other.
“Labanan todo ito. Walang sister team-sister team dito,” said San Mig Coffee’s James Yap.
“Pukpukan ‘to,” said Petron Blaze’s Arwind Santos.
For Petron playmaker Alex Cabagnot, the Boosters and the Mixers seemed evenly matched, so he believes the series will go down to coaching and execution.
“I have played against coach Tim [Cone] in the finals and they beat us. He’s a good coach, good at making adjustments in every direction. But coach Gee [Abanilla] is also good on adjustments. It’s gonna be a coaching battle and I’m happy to be part of it,” he said.
Both coaches are on the verge of achieving PBA milestones in the race-to-four series.
Cone is just a title away from tying coach Baby Dalupan’s record of 15 PBA crowns, while Abanilla could become the seventh coach to win a title in his first PBA conference.
“Petron hasn’t really had a hard time. They’ve been in smooth sailing. They’re really gonna be a tough opponent for us. We’ll be the underdogs, but we’ll take on that and go at them,” said Cone.
“They’re deep and coach Tim (Cone) has been around for a long time aiming for a 15th championship. It says a lot. This series against San Mig Coffee is really cut out for us,” said Abanilla.