After avoiding Game 6 mishap, Millsap to give it all in Game 7
MANILA, Philippines – Elijah Millsap had pain written all over his face when he twisted his left foot in the first half of Game Six.
Millsap played through it and finished with a game-high 30 points that went with eight rebounds, six assists and two steals to help the Petron Blaze Boosters force tonight’s knockout duel for the PBA Governors’ Cup crown.
“It’s unbelievable. We just don’t want to lose this game,” Millsap told reporters after Game Six.
Millsap got a call from his brother Paul, who is now playing for the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA, after his phenomenal performance.
“He was happy that we won and told me to never say die. He watched the game on the internet and we always keep tabs on each other,” the younger Millsap told Philstar.com.
Millsap got his competitive spirit from his family, who is really into basketball.
Aside from Paul, Millsap’s other two brothers John (oldest) and Abraham (youngest) also play basketball.
“I have a competitive family. We always play basketball when we were young and that’s where I got my competitive spirit. I remember my brother once told me to always imagine that I’m on a tightrope and I have to throw punches or get knocked out,” Millsap said.
“He comes from a great family. I met his mother and she’s really nice. Maybe that’s why they were all named after Biblical figures,” Petron Blaze rookie coach Gee Abanilla said.
Millsap’s mother Bettye was here to watch her 26-year old son play in the semifinals. She flew out of the country last week, on the day Petron Blaze punched a Finals ticket.
“I’ve never seen an import like him before. He’s a leader. He’s not the kind of import who always thinks of his offense, the showtime kind of import. He asks for defensive match-ups. He wants to take charge,” Abanilla said.
In Game Six, Millsap went mano-a-mano against San Mig Coffee and Best Import Marqus Blakely down the stretch and won their personal battle.
Blakely just scored 21 points, nine coming off free throws, grabbed 11 boards against five turnovers.
Now it comes down to one final game for the two imports.
Blakely wants to complete his unfinished business here after failing to win the championship in another epic seven-game series against eventual champion Rain or Shine last season.
But so is Millsap, who said he researched about his team before flying here.
“I’ve done my research. I knew the drama [Petronovela] that surrounded this team before. I knew that they have a talented lineup that couldn’t get their acts together. I came here to fit in and change that,” Millsap said. “My mission here is to win the championship.”
The Petron Blaze import sat out Thursday’s practice with an ice pack on his left foot.
But on Friday night, Millsap will not take Game Seven sitting down. He will play through pain again to gain the only thing that he came here for – the PBA Governors’ Cup title.