Manila Clasico Redux: B-meg Sets Up Rare Showdown With Ginebra
The B-MEG Llamados set up a blockbuster best-of-five semifinals showdown with Barangay Ginebra following an 86-76 victory over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
This will only be the fourth time since 1988 the two franchises will meet in a playoff series.
The Anejo Rhum 65ers defeated the Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs in four games, 3-1 in the 1988 All-Filipino finals.
Nine years later, the Purefoods Corned Beef Cowboys exacted vengeance against the Gordon’s Gin Boars in the same All-Filipino tournament.
The two squads had a short playoff matchup in the 2001 Philippine Cup quarterfinals, when Ginebra beat Purefoods twice on a memorable game-winning shot by Ronald Magtulis.
B-MEG and Ginebra will meet for the first time in an import-laden conference, which will begin on Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
Llamados coach Tim Cone said the series against the Bolts toughened up his team for the meeting against Ginebra.
“The moment we lost to Ginebra, the first thing we talked about is that we wanted to get back and play them again and it’s a good thing we can play them again. This series will toughen us up against Ginebra,” said Cone
“It’s better that we went through a tough series against Meralco than just making it to the semis and wait for them.
A semi-final series between old rivals Ginebra and B-MEG: what a thrilling concept. Connect today's Ginebra with yesterday's Ańejo. Search for what binds today's B-MEG and yesterday's Purefoods. Highlight the never-say-die spirit. Single out Alvin Patrimonio. Maybe you're too old to forget. Maybe you're too young to remember. But a possible clash between Ginebra and B-MEG honors the past and enlivens the future.
The Ańejo-Purefoods rivalry became so mainstream in 1988 it was impossible to miss. It split my highschool class in half. We remember teachers because of their affiliation. Mr. Brazal was pro-Ginebra. Fr. Perez was pro-Purefoods. The technician of the science lab looked like Chito Loyzaga. We dubbed one classmate, who had the audacity to wear Jaworski signature shoes in a sea of Nike Airs, "Jawo". Another classmate idolized Patrimonio so much, he triumphantly copied Alvin's haircut but unsuccessfully copied Alvin's game.
I don't wish to undermine Meralco's chances against B-MEG in the quarterfinals
Face it; Ginebra fans will have just as much fun cheering against Mark Cardona, as they will against James Yap. Imagine Cardona beating his chest, with 55 points across his name, showered by a cascade of boos heard from Cubao to Kathmandu. Imagine Sol Mercado locking arms with Mark Caguioa. Imagine Chris Ross sprinting against Mike Cortez. Imagine the euphoria if Ginebra advances at Cardona's expense. Imagine the shock if Meralco, instead of Ginebra, makes it to the Finals.
Fans of the old days make the same mistakes. They say Ginebra instead of the actual team name, Barangay Ginebra Kings. They say Purefoods instead of B-MEG. Younger fans, on the other hand, know what BGK stands for and they use the hash-tag #BMEGPlanet on Twitter. If Ginebra and B-MEG meet again, if fate allows new teams to settle old scores, a series could bridge the gap between Jaworski devotees and Caguioa followers, between Patrimonio supporters and Yap believers. I am too old to forget the past. Yet a rekindled rivalry makes both the old and new young always