Ginebra, Star in winner-take-all Game 7

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It’s all for the marbles as Barangay Ginebra and Star collide in the winner-take-all Game 7 for the remaining finals berth in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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The Gin Kings and the Hotshots square off at 7 p.m. with the winner meeting the survivor of San Miguel Beer-TNT KaTropa duel in the other semifinals pairing.

Ginebra staved off elimination following a 104-88 win in Game 6 to tie the best-of-seven series to three-all.

Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone hopes his wards can sustain their energy especially on the defensive end as they expect the Hotshots to pour it all in their no-tomorrow contest.

Ginebra’s LA Tenorio dribbles past Paul Lee of Star Hotshots during Game 6 of the best-ofseven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO

“Game 7 is always a 50-50 game and I don’t think anyone has the edge. It goes down now to who wants it more,” said Cone, who is eyeing a second straight finals appearance with Ginebra.

“The question now is our energy. Do we have enough energy left in our tank to come out and do the things we do? It’s Game 7; everything is on the line so we’re going to give it all. We’re going to see what adjustments are needed to be made,” he added.

Joe Devance, playing with a painful plantar fasciitis in the series, played big in Game 6, scoring all of his 14 points in the third period that allowed Ginebra to pull away from a tight contest.

Devance said Game 7 would be a battle of desire.

“We are just going to go out there and play with passion and a lot of heart. We have to play smart, too,” said Devance, who needed two shots of painkillers to be able to suit up in Game 6.

Devance supported Sol Mercado (21 points) and LA Tenorio (19) in their previous game to stay alive in the series.

Star Hotshots coach Chito Victolero remains optimistic of their chances despite his team’s failure to close out the series last Sunday.

The Hotshots won the first two games of the series but allowed the Gin Kings to tie it to two-all before grabbing a 3-2 lead with an 89-80 win in Game 5.

“I still feel very positive in this series because we are not out yet,” said Victolero. “It’s 50-50 for both teams. It’s now all about the effort and desire of the players who want it more. We just have to play hard and keep our energy and desire.”

The Hotshots, who are eyeing their 28th overall finals appearance since joining the league in 1988, are expected to rely on Jean Marc Pingris, Paul Lee and Allein Maliksi as they try to reach the finals for the first time in the post-James Yap era.

The Gin Kings, on the other hand, are gunning for their 23rd overall finals appearance since joining the league in 1979.

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