PREVIEW: Ginebra and Meralco all out to win crucial PBA Finals Game 5

MANILA, Philippines - Typhoon Karen won’t stop the PBA players and fans from breaking the 2-2 series tonight as the country’s premier basketball league’s Media Bureau Chief, Willie Marcial announced that the Game 5 between crowd favorite Brgy. Ginebra Gin Kings and underdogs Meralco Bolts will push through on October 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

Ginebra and Meralco all out to win crucial PBA Finals Game 5

The Bolts almost had the previous game in their hands. Leading with 16 big points entering the 3rd period, Coach Norman Black and his wards all of a sudden blew their humongous margin and shifted the momentum over to fellow American multi-titled coach Tim Cone and his gang.

The 17,000 plus paying patrons went frenzy as the vintage “the Fast and the Furios” tandem of Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand gave them a flashback of their prime forms.

It was Helterbrand himself who ignited the whole coliseum with his ring-less and sure-ball treys combined with old pal Caguioa’s timely and clutch jumpers that trimmed and took over Bolts’ double-digit lead.

Meralco had their chance to even the numbers in the dying seconds of the game. But, newly crowned Rookie of the Year, Chris Newsome, widely missed his midrange shot and officially gave the “W” to the Gins.

If the outcome of tonight’s game will be based in the win-loss trend of the series, game number 5 will be Meralco’s. But technically, both squads are fairly even. Both teams will start with 0-0. It will just boil down to whoever needs it the most.

Jimmy Alapag, who was Bolts’ hero for game 3, was only seen for a very limited seconds in the previous game due to minor leg injury. Coach Black emphasized that risking Alapag will cost him and his team their following games so he decided to bench the veteran guard to give him ample time to recover from leg tightness in preparation for tonight’s big game.

It is not only Alapag who’s nursing an injury, Gins’ 6’9” forward Japeth Aguilar sprained his ankle on the last quarter that left Coach Cone no choice but to send him out of the court. Ginebra officials didn’t confirm whether Aguilar will play tonight or not. It will be the lengthy wingman’s call as per Cone.

The scary part is, with or without Ginebra’s twin towers, they still manage to pull off the wins. Greg Slaughter for an instance. The 7-footer spends his time recuperating from his knee injury on the sidelines leaving the number 5 position open and up for grabs for reserves Jervy Cruz and Dave Marcelo and still able to beat heavyweight San Miguel Beermen during the semis and Meralco Bolts in games 2 and 4.

Aside from Caguioa and Helterbrand, Joe Devance stepped-up to help the Kings secure the win together with their own rookie and the dynamic duo prodigy, Scottie Thompson who’s really doing very well as the team’s back-up court general. Thompson unfortunately lost the Rookie of the Year award to fellow-new comer Chris Newsome.

The battle of the imports will still continue tonight as expected between Justin Brownlee and Bobby Ray Parks Sr. awardee Allen Durham. Norman Black instructed his boys to lock Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee in their defensive radars in game number 5 which they did and limited Kings’ reinforcement to just 10 points. The thing was, Ginebra locals erupted and took the scoring chores from the workhorse Brownlee.

Setting the series win-loss trend aside, Ginebra will more likely win game number 5 because of the momentum. However, should Japeth Aguilar opts to rest his ankle and with Jimmy Alapag back for the Bolts, the trend continues in favor of Meralco.

Whoever wins tonight’s game will march to the penultimate game with oozing confidence. It is the team who is more hungry for victory will gain everything.

WATCH: LIVESTREAM: Meralco vs Ginebra PBA Governors' Cup 2016 Finals

Just like the first 4 games, game 5 will still be tight and close for both teams which will excite and pump-up the crowd. Expect a thrilling and heartbreaking game tonight live on Sports 5!

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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