Ito na ‘to. This is it.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the PBA Finals! It’s Alaska vs. Ginebra: The Best Team Since Game Zero vs. The Team That Fate Kissed.
I’m already salivating just by mentioning “Alaska vs. Ginebra”. That sounds as sexy as “Mudwrestling: Trish Stratus vs. Stacy Keibler”, and as crazy as “Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mankind” in a no holds barred match, yet it also sounds so technically appealing as “Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart”. But nay, the action you will see won’t be scripted. It will be as real as the Juan Manuel Marquez right straight that hit the whole country; the only thing though, instead of us getting depressed, I can already feel euphoria.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
The ALASKA ACES enter the PBA Finals…
1. After finishing the elimination round as the number one seed with 11 wins and 3 losses
2. After dispatching the overmatched Air 21 Express in the quarters in one game
3. After submitting an impressive series win against the San Mig Coffee Mixers – possibly the LA Lakers to their Detroit Pistons, or the Detroit Pistons to their Chicago Bulls, or the Boston Celtics to their LeBron James, or drug addiction to their Robert Downey Jr.
4. After winning eight out of their last nine.
Their path to the Finals is as simple as “The Best Team Since Game Zero Being Three Wins Away From Fulfilling Destiny”. That’s basically it. They have been the most consistent team and the most methodical. They’ve been the team with the strongest blueprint on how to win games.
For the BARANGAY GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL, their path to the PBA Finals wasn’t as simple as 1…2…3…4…If you could even plot how their conference went and you turn it into a graph, you’d come up with a line graph that would resemble a lifeline.
They open the conference by losing five out of their first six. Then they win six straight while dramatically losing Mark Caguioa in the middle of that euphoric run. Then they lose their last two elimination round games, crashing down to the 7th seed and casting considerable doubt against Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals. You guys know what happened next: Helterbrand was sinking jumpers circa 2009 and Kerby was swatting shots like he never did, and Coach Alfrancis got lots of little contributions from everybody else, while the team was still heavily leaning on Tenorio and Macklin. They beat the Elasto Painters and the Tropang Texters by banking on that formula that produced incomprehensible results.
How will the Commissioner’s Cup end? Are the Aces, finally exorcising their demons, really due for a championship? Or is Ginebra’s story, a story so full of fantasies that it can be remade into a primetime teleserye, too good, heck, too fantastic that it should have a “and they lived happily ever after” type of ending?