It may be just a possibility, but a Manila Clasico showdown in the 2017 Governor’s Cup quarterfinals already excites Hotshots leader Marc Pingris.
The chances of that rivalry bout taking place in the playoffs rose on Sunday night, after the Hotshots’ come-from-behind, 101-93 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors helped the Gin Kings clinch a twice-to-beat advantage.
And it will become reality if the San Miguel Beermen (7-3) defeat the Meralco Bolts (8-2), since it will create a four-way tie at 8-3, with the Barangay in the number four spot and Star in the fifth.
“Mas gusto ko Ginebra. Kahit twice-to-win kami basta Ginebra. Maraming tao eh,” Pingris quipped after the match. “Masarap maglaro kasi napakalakas na team yun. Kung di mo kayang talunin, paano ka magcha-champion?
“Mas maganda na mas malakas ang makalaban agad.”
What makes the 35-year-old eager to face the crowd darlings is the euphoria the game brings, as every Star-Ginebra game feels like a Finals — especially since their matches really bring in the fans.
“Every time na Ginebra ang kalaban namin, para kaming nasa Finals,” Pingris opined. “History kasi, nandiyan ang Manila Clasico, maraming fans na nanonood. Pakiramdam ko talaga nasa Finals kami.”
But regardless of whom the Hotshots will face, Pingris said that the upcoming playoffs will be more about working on themselves.
“Bukas, wala kaming pakialam kung sino manalo ngayon. Ang kailangan lang talaga… first game kailangan manalo. Kailangan namin ma-maintain yung depensa namin,” said the eight-time champions. “Tulad kanina, first quarter pangit talaga laro namin eh. Yung ganitong opportunity, kailangan mag-level up ang depensa mo.
“Ang mentality, twice-to-beat man o twice-to-win, mag-practice kami at mabalik yung depensa.”
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