The Star Hotshots expect nothing but war as they try to finish off Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings in Game 6 of the best-of-seven semifinal series of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum tonight.
Holding a 3-2 series advantage, the Hotshots will be going for the jugular in their 6:30 p.m. match to secure their 28th overall finals appearance since joining the league in 1988.
“It will be a hard battle on Sunday. I hope we can keep our positive attitude,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero.
“We will play hard, prepare hard in Game 6 because Coach Tim (Cone) is a brilliant coach. We have to be consistent on our defense because their offense is really solid.”
Game 5 hero Rafi Reavis, who posted 17 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in their 89-80 Game 5 win, vowed the Gin Kings will definitely bounce back in Game 6 to tie the series.
“It (Game 6) should be a lot tougher than this game (Game 5). They are known to be a never-say-die team and we have to withstand the storm that they will bring to us. It’s going to be a war,” said the 15-year veteran center.
“We don’t definitely want to get into Game 7. We’ll definitely do our best on Sunday,” he added.
Star’s veteran forward Jean Marc Pingris said the Gin Kings will be more dangerous in Game 6 and they need to bring their best game in order to close out the series.
“This is the hardest playoff series especially facing a team like Ginebra. They are a never-say-die team, so we’re expecting a war in Game 6. We have to keep our focus and play great defense,” said Pingris.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone used his second stringers in the fourth quarter in Game 5 and almost pulled off a miracle but their rally fell short.
Despite the loss, the Grand Slam mentor remains positive of extending the series.
“Give all the credit to Star. They outcoached us, outplayed us and outhustled us,” said Cone.
“It looked like we hit the proverbial wall; we just didn’t have a lot of gas in the tank. It happens. But we expect to be better next time out and push this series to a Game 7,” he added. “Another do or die game for us—what else is new?”
Playmaker LA Tenorio also expressed optimism of tying the series.
“We beat them two in a row. We were in this kind of situation. We just have to get Game 6 that’s important and we’re not looking ahead to beat them twice. We just have to win the game on Sunday first,” said Tenorio.