When Bay Area brought down San Miguel Beer, 94-92, on Wednesday, coach Tim Cone knew he and his Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings will have to be at the top of their games when they clash with the Dragons for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown.
While many Filipinos wanted a San Miguel Beer-Ginebra confrontation in the championship round, Cone said he was not disappointed of what he saw of the Dragons when they emerged as their finals’ opponent.
“We knew they’d be a great team. They will just play all the things that we want them to be like. We weren’t certainly disappointed,” said Cone during a pre-finals’ media presentation featuring the Gin Kings and the Bay Arena Dragons at the Novotel in Cubao, Quezon City on Friday.
The guest team from Hong Kong has arranged a best-of-seven title showdown with Barangay Ginebra, starting on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’re bringing a new element into the PBA. Something new, something exciting,” said Dragons’ coach Brian Goorjian.
The Dragons enter the finals series, having won eight of their last nine games, while the Gin Kings emerged victorious in seven of eight encounters.
The Dragons finished their series with the Beermen, winning three games to one.
Cone felt from the start that the Dragons will dig in and fight their way to the finals, with Goorjian at the helm and players, led by former NBA player Andrew Nicholson.
And their semis encounter with the Beermen says a lot about the Dragons.
“They took down a really strong San Miguel team. It was a tough series. But they took them down. So we have our hands full and we’re embracing the challenge,” added Cone.
Goorjian believes that being in the finals is an opportunity for the Dragons to grow as a team.
“For us, this is an opportunity to grow this team and develop. And the PBA experience for my team to start with, as we go to the finals, is nothing but respect,” added Goorjian.