Reaching For Glory: A Glimpse of the Finals Or Why They Make Basketball Movies
I was completely wrong. That’s the great thing about basketball, or most sports. You can know everything, right down to the minutiae of statistics, the particulars of plays, and the details of what players eat for breakfast. You can know all that and more—and I don’t know most of that—and still be absolutely wrong in predicting who will win and who will lose. It’s why people love sports.
I predicted that we would have a repeat of last year’s Talk N’ Text and San Mig Coffee series. Instead, Alaska took their remaining doubters by the scruffs of their necks and hurled them to the ground, barreling their way into the Finals. Ginebra set eardrums a-poppin’ as their performance brought the house down in five delightfully eventful games.
When I spoke to Chris Ellis before Game Five, he told me, “I hadn’t known what they meant by ‘deafening’ until I played for this crowd.” You wouldn’t understand unless you’ve been there, the way the thousands in attendance rise up as one to chant for their team, banners raised and arms up in the air.
What’s going to be great about this series is that, for both teams, it’s a reclaiming of glory. Alaska without Tim Cone hadn’t felt like Alaska to their fans. They’d seemed beaten down, unable to stand. And Ginebra hadn’t seen the Finals in two years, haven’t touched a trophy since 2008. Now the chance to make history is in sight. Both teams are ready “to write the last sentence,” as Mico Halili puts it, of this particular chapter in the PBA books.
So what to look for in the games ahead? First: physicality. That’s a term that’ll be tossed around a lot in the next week or so (and I checked, it is a real word). If you thought the semis were rough, with Vernon Macklin pushing people around and Calvin Abueva flying across the court and bodies hitting the hardwood every five seconds, just imagine the brutality of the coming series.
Not that I want it to get out of hand—I want to watch basketball, not a bar fight—but this could get as bloody (in a figurative sense, I hope) as it could be beautiful. And there will be some fine moments: picturesque passes by Josh Urbiztondo to V-Mack for the throw down, spectacular shots by JV Casio from halfway out of the Coliseum. There will be instances that require multiple replays in slow motion for no other reason than because they get the fans tingling in their toes.
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