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Petron Blaze, San Mig Coffee start Governors’ Cup finals duel

PETRON Blaze and San Mig Coffee begin their best-of-seven championship series for the 2013 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Boosters and the Coffee Mixers Game One clash starts at 8 p.m.

“Game One is really an important game to win because you want to set the tone in the series and not play catch-up ball,” said Petron Coach Gee Abanilla. “I’m sure both teams will come out strong and try to get the ‘W.’ It will be good for the fans and the league having these two teams slug it out and give total effort to get the victory.”

San Mig Coffee Coach Tim Cone said Petron has the edge for having dominated most of the conference.

“We are the underdogs, but we are ready,” said Cone, who is in his 26th finals appearance and eyeing his 15th PBA title. “We’re willing to take on that mantle of underdog.”

Unlike the Boosters, the Coffee Mixers had a rough start in the tournament, losing three of their first four games before getting their rhythm in the second half of the eliminations.

San Mig Coffee also needed to hold off Alaska in their quarterfinal series as the Aces toppled the twice-to-beat advantage of the Coffee Mixers before losing in the knockout match.

But Abanilla claimed that if there is an underdog in the series, it should be him because he is in his first finals appearance as a head coach in the PBA.

“If anybody should be an underdog in the series, it should be me,” said Abanilla. “But I have a staff which gives me great support and that should lessen my disadvantage.”

The duel of imports serves as a sidelight to the series with Petron’s Elijah Millsap and Marqus Blakely of San Mig Coffee strengthening their billings as the leading candidates for the Best Import award.

“I know how hard San Mig Coffee plays and I know it’s not going to be easy,” said Millsap. “I know we’re in for a fight and we just want to be ready.”

Blakely was the Coffee Mixers’ import last season when they lost to Rain or Shine in the finals of the same tournament. But he said he is ready to help his team finish what it failed to accomplish last year.

Joel Orellana






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