Despite clinching a twice-to-beat advantage, Meralco still showed no mercy and trounced Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 79-66, in the 46th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on Thursday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Pampanga.
Meralco coach Norman Black insisted that there was nothing personal with their performance as they went hard at the Kings to gain momentum for the tough grind ahead.
The Bolts and the Kings share a rivalry.
Handled by two of the country’s best coaches in Black and Tim Cone, Meralco and Ginebra clashed in the finals of the Governors’ Cup three times in the past four years, making them teams to watch in this tourney that is being played using a semi-bubble concept.
The Kings, however, won all of their finals duels that obviously gave Black a lot of ammunitions to fire up his team entering their very crucial match.
Still, Black asserted that they were not thinking about the rivalry despite knowing that the Kings were in dire need of a victory.
“We just wanted to win the game,” said Black, who drew firepower from Mac Belo and Alvin Pasaol to chalk up their ninth win in 11 games.
“I know we’ve played them a lot over the years and like I said yesterday, the rivalry has been a little but one-sided because they’ve been doing most of the winning.”
With the loss, the Kings are in danger of being the first reigning champion to get eliminated since Shell more than two decades ago.
But Black said they didn’t see the win as a payback.
“But it’s a game that just happened at the end of this conference and we wanted to go to the playoffs with some momentum,” he said.
It just so happened that Ginebra was our opponent tonight.”