Game 4 close-out or deciding Game 5? The Manila Clasico semifinal in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup boils down to either of that as Barangay Ginebra goes for the kill while Magnolia fights to stay alive in an expected knife-edge face-off Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Kings are now enjoying a virtual twice-to-beat edge after pouncing on a Paul Lee-less Hotshots Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo, hacking out an emphatic 103-80 victory for the pivotal 2-1 lead in the race-to-three series.
The series had been a dogfight, with neither team enjoying control until that Game 3 rout with the Hotshots badly missing the services of Lee.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone is not yet looking beyond this series, but he feels the condition of Lee would tell a lot on the outcome.
“A lot depends on Paul Lee,” said Cone of the Magnolia ace who was limited to a little over two minutes of play in Game 3 due to a flu.
“His absence took the wind off their sails. It’s hard to make in-game adjustments when you lose your star player. And he really has been their star,” Cone noted. “He’s really giving us fits. We can’t locate him and when we do, he finds somebody else. It’s been a really tough road for us trying to contain Paul. He obviously made the big shot (buzzer-beating winner) last game.”
Lee, however, is confident he can come back and hopeful they can make the right preparation for a go-for-broke stand in Game 4 set at 3 p.m.