Brgy. Ginebra moved on the verge of spoiling the Grand Slam ambitions of sister team San Miguel once more after the 2017 Governors’ Cup titlists set up a quarterfinals clash with the 2019 Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup champs in the season-ending conference of PBA Season 44.
The Gin Kings first earned the reputation of triple-crown spoilers when the Tim Cone mentored squad eliminated the Beermen in the quarterfinals of the 2017 edition of the same conference. The crowd darlings then went on to top TNT KaTropa in the semis before repeating over the Meralco Bolts in the Finals to successfully defend the crown.
Fast forward two seasons after and the two SMC teams are set to meet again under the same conditions. The Beermen are seeded 5th and just 1 title away from completing the 2nd Grand Slam in the franchise history, 6th overall in the league. Standing in their way are the Gin Kings who are seeded 4th and holding a twice-to-beat advantage.
Brgy. Ginebra chief playmaker LA Tenorio, however, is paying no attention to what happened before and is bracing for the ‘real’ San Miguel team to show up in the playoffs.
“Hindi naman namin iniisip na ganun eh. Siguro nata-timing lang na ganun yung nangyari. It just happened na San Miguel yung nakalaban namin,” said the 13-year PBA veteran.
“I don’t think they’re gonna be vulnerable, knowing they’re a champion team. We expect the real San Miguel. Alam naman natin na pag dating ng playoffs, they’re gonna play like a champion team. it doesn’t matter kung ano yung mga nangyari sa kanila. You can’t take anything for granted,” he added.
The 35-year old Nasugbu, Batangas native is focused on a return trip to the Finals and on reclaiming the crown they surrendered last season to the Magnolia Hotshots.
“Pag dating talaga ng playoffs, we just want to win. We want to go through the quarters, semis, and we’ve been out of the finals for a year now, so makablik man lang sana kami ulit. Yun lang iniisip namin, yun lang goal namin. Wala kaming iniisip kung anong nangyayari sa labas o anong tawag sa amin. Our focus is to win on Sunday.”