If Bay Area wants to end its guest participation in the PBA with a championship, they will have to go through one of the league’s top teams and a legion of fans from that team’s hometown.
Following their respective semifinal victories on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena, the Dragons and Barangay Ginebra have created an intriguing matchup for the Commissioner’s Cup trophy. Their illustrious coaches are preparing for a challenging battle, as the matchup is sure to be a close one.
Both squads will begin their quest for the championship on Christmas Day, playing in a best-of-seven series against one another. This format will be unique for Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist and Australia National Basketball League champion coach Brian Goorjian.
After Bay Area eliminated San Miguel Beer from the Grand Slam competition with a victory of 94-92 in Game 4 of the semifinal matchup, Goorjian remarked, “Nothing but respect for [Ginebra coach] Tim Cone, nothing but respect for that team.” Bay Area had done so by ending San Miguel Beer’s chances of winning the tournament. “They dominated the semifinals, they dominated the quarterfinals, they dominated the finish to their season, and they dominated us the first time they played us,” we said. “They dominated the finish to their season.”
The Kings will make the final stand for the local teams in this conference, and they will be attempting to prevent the Dragons from joining the list of visiting teams that have won PBA championships. The final of those teams was Northern Consolidated Cement (NCC), which the late, great coach Ron Jacobs guided to the 1985 Reinforced Conference championship.
Jacobs and Dennis Still, a naturalized player for NCC, were both acquainted with Goorjian’s father, who died away not too long ago. This adds a depth of sentimentality to Goorjian’s pursuit of the title of coach of the Australian national team.
The Dragons will enter the Finals as the favorite, but they will also carry the scar of a 111-93 thrashing they experienced at the hands of the Kings, who handed the club their first loss in this tournament. The Kings handed the team its first loss here.
However, since that time, Bay Area has demonstrated significant growth, as evidenced by the manner in which they defeated San Miguel in the race-to-three affair by a score of 3-1. And the Dragons intend to keep up that rate of expansion.
Goorjian expressed his optimism by saying, “I’m hoping that we got better, hoping that we get an opportunity to prepare till the 25th, and there’ll be no excuses.” “I have never played in the NBA, and I have never been a part of a series that was played over seven games.”
Ginebra defeated their semifinal opponent Magnolia in four games, with a 99-84 blowout victory on Wednesday night securing their spot in the Finals.
Cone, on the other hand, is not placing a lot of faith in the Kings’ victory over the Dragons in the elimination round.
Cone, who is competing against Goorjian for the chance to win a record-extending 25th PBA title, said, “I believe that surprised us more than it surprised them, in terms of that we beat them like we did.”
Justin Brownlee, who comes into the Finals with a perfect record, will put it all on the line in an attempt to break a record of his own. Brownlee has competed for a championship a total of five times, and each time, he has emerged victorious.
“I enjoy the sensation each and every time. Brownlee stated that the sensation never gets old as he finished off Magnolia with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, which increased his chances of winning a third Best Import title. “It’s definitely not something that gets old,” Brownlee remarked. “Just making it to the finals had the same feeling as before,” she said.
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