MANILA, Philippines – After suffering two finals heartbreaks, Allen Durham feels it is already high time for him to win a PBA title.
Durham will shoot for his first PBA championship on his third try as Meralco seeks to exact revenge on finals tormentor Barangay Ginebra in a best-of-seven affair for the Governors’ Cup throne.
The Gin Kings inflicted back-to-back finals losses on Durham and the Bolts in 2016 and 2017, but the confidence of the two-time Best Import of the Conference in his squad remains sky-high.
“I’m hoping so,” said Durham when asked if the third time will be the charm for him and his team. “This one feels like it’s about time. It feels right.”
He added, “I know we still have to play the game, but just the level of focus that we have, it’s definitely different than what we’ve had in the past.”
Meralco bowed out to Barangay Ginebra in heart-wrenching fashion in 2016, no thanks to a Justin Brownlee game-winning triple over Durham in Game 6.
In what was supposed to be a redemption campaign the following year, the Bolts ran out of gas and lost by 5 points to the Gin Kings in the do-or-die Game 7.
“They do add an extra chip because they do beat us the last two times. I think we’ll be ready and I think it’s going to be a great series,” Durham said.
But this edition of their finals duel is touted to be significantly different, especially with Meralco adding key pieces to bolster its bid for its maiden PBA crown.
Last year, the Bolts acquired big man Raymond Almazan, scorer Allein Maliksi, and do-it-all rookie Bong Quinto – players who have proven to be difference-makers in games.
“It feels like some of the gaps that we had previously in terms of scoring and rebounding [have been filled]. I think we’re different than the team we had before,” said the 31-year-old import.
“Now, we just have to finish it and get the ultimate goal, the ultimate prize.”
Game 1 will be held at the Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday, January 7. – Rappler.com