COACH Ryan Gregorio of Meralco Bolts hopes that their four-day rest would strengthen them when they face San Mig Coffee today in Game One of the best-of-five semifinals series of the 2013 Philippine Basketball Association Governor’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Meralco B-Boys easily dispatched Barako Bull, 86-68, in their quarterfinals battle last September 25 while the Coffee Mixers needed a second game to finally end Alaska’s hope, 83-73, on Friday. The Aces won the first game, 112-105, also the succeeding game on Wednesday to force a rubber match.
And while San Mig was struggling against the Aces, Gregorio spent the time preparing for the important battle, their first semifinals appearance since joining the league in 2010. “It is not a long series so every game counts,” he said.
Gregorio was the head coach of Purefoods for eight years and won three championship titles before moving to Meralco in 2010. As the former coach of James Yap, Marc Pingres and Peter June Simon, he is most familiar with the Coffee Mixers, now being handled by multi-awarded coach Tim Cone.
“This would be the first time that we will meet in the semis. I’m much more excited to face coach Ryan’s [Gregorio] team. He is a good coach, this is a big challenge for us,” said two-time MVP James Yap, who won two Philippine Cup titles under Gregorio in 2006 and 2010.
In their only game in the elimination round, the Coffee Mixers need one big push in the pivotal period to escape with an 88-87 win, courtesy of 6’5 import Marqus Blakely, who fired 24 points on top of 13 rebounds, six block shots, three assists and a steal.
Blakely averaged 26.11 points, 16.67 rebounds, five assists, 2.67 blocks and 1.33 steals in 41.89 minutes of action with San Mig Coffee while Meralco’s 6’5 import Mario West averaged 28.33 points, 8.11 rebounds, 2.67 assists, 1.89 steals and 0.44 blocks in 44.00 minutes a game.