June 25, 2024

PBA x NBA Finals: Luka and Kyrie Magic is strong, but Boston has believers from Meralco and San Miguel

PBA x NBA Finals: Luka and Kyrie Magic is strong, but Boston has believers from Meralco and San Miguel
Dallas in 6? Boston in 7? Art by Mitzi Solano/One Sports, Photos (c) RM Chua/One Sports and PBA

The 2024 NBA Finals are upon us and the last series of this season certainly present some intriguing storylines, chief among them being the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Boston Celtics is another fresh matchup, something that rarely happens in the NBA lore.

Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum lead the key protagonists for Dallas and Boston, respectively, and the NBA will see a young star finally hoist their first-ever championship.

 

The secondary stars are likewise intriguing, with Kyrie Irving coming back to Boston and Kristaps Porzingis set to make his Playoff return for the Celtics to face his former team in the Mavericks.

Not to be lost in the shuffle is Jaylen Brown, whose strong Playoff run had him winning Eastern Conference Finals MVP for Boston.

For Dallas, PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford look to pay off Dallas’ aggressive trade deadline with a sweet title.

Bottomline is, these NBA Finals are gonna rock.

Halfway across the world, another Finals is rocking with the San Miguel Beermen taking on the Meralco Bolts for the Philippine Cup crown.

One Sports sought some of them to give their take on a separate Finals, even as they play on one of their own.

 

LUKA AND KYRIE MAGIC

"I think Dallas, in six,” said San Miguel’s Don Trollano.

"Dallas, for sure. In six,” added Meralco rookie Brandon Bates, who is just a bit more confident with his pick.

 

The general consensus is the pairing of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving is just unstoppable now at this point, especially after the Mavericks ran through the West gauntlet where they beat three 50-win teams, the first team to do so since the 2010 Lakers.

"Luka, Luka is unbelievable. And then if Luka is not on, Kyrie is on. So you know, unstoppable. I love him [Luka}. I think he’s one of the best players I’ve ever watched,” Bates said on why he thinks Dallas pulls through in six games.

"They [Mavericks] have Luka and Kyrie, and yung mga role players nila ginagampanan mga role nila. And yung dalawa kasi [Luka and Kyrie] they’re hard to stop. Yun, because of Luka and Kyrie,” Trollano added.

 

Noted Denver Nuggets fan Chris Newsome also thinks Dallas will win the NBA title, but the Meralco star went ahead and said the Mavericks will stun the Celtics with a Game 7 road win.

The reason? You guessed it, Luka and Kyrie.

[Related: PBA: Chris Banchero, Chris Newsome lead Meralco to Game 1 win vs. San Miguel]

"I got Dallas in seven. I love the backcourt tandem between Luka and Kyrie, and I would love to see Kyrie get another ring and of course Luka to get his first,” he said.

San Miguel’s Jericho Cruz also has the Mavericks winning, but his reasoning is more profound, especially with his admiration for the previously-embattled Irving.

"They’re both good eh, medyo advantage lang yung Celtics kasi homecourt,” Cruz said.

"Pero para sakin, ang gusto ko talaga manalo yung Dallas, para kay Kyrie. He’s one of my favorite players din, with Luka. Hopefully Dallas by Game 6,” he added.

Cruz has no allegiance to Dallas, but Irving’s story has resonated for the Beermen dynamo.

Kyrie’s turnaround to be an NBA playoff darling after some troubled stints with Boston and Brooklyn has Cruz rooting for a true success story.

 

“Kobe fan talaga ako eh, simula nung nawala si Kobe hindi na ako masyado nanonood. Pero si Kyrie kasi maganda yung story niya. After niya umalis sa Cleveland parang ang dami nag-hate sa kaniya, he just played through it,” he said.

"Dami niya haters pero he’s still there. Ngayon nasa taas ulit siya. Na-inspire ako sa kanya, hopefully siya yung manalo and Finals MVP. Sana bumalik siya sa dati na siya hinahangan ng tao, hindi yung bina-bash siya,” Cruz added.

 

BOSTON BELIEVERS

While Dallas seems to be the sentimental pick, the Celtics remain the favorite.

After all, Boston was far and away the best team all season, as evidenced by the team’s league-leading 64 wins.

 

And regardless of the circumstance surrounding the East side of the NBA Playoff bracket, Boston has simply ran roughshod on the opposition, making the NBA Finals with a 12-2 playoff record.

San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent is a believer.

"Of course I’m gonna go for Boston, I like Boston,” he said.

[Related: Schedule for the 2024 NBA Finals and where to watch]

"I like their offense. I like watching them because it’s a fluid offense, and I kinda get a lot of tips on how they play,” the SMB mentor added.

Another believer is Meralco’s Cliff Hodge, albeit with an asterisk. Hodge’s heart leans toward Dallas, but his brain says Boston, particularly because of one man: Kristaps Porzingis.

 

Coincidentally, the Celtics say their unicorn is getting ready for a Game 1 return.

"I want Dallas to win, but I feel like Boston will win in six,” he said.

"They’re too potent offensively and if Porzingis comes back it’s gonna be huge,” Hodge added.

The 2024 NBA Finals start Friday, June 7, with games live on One Sports, NBA TV Philippines, Pilipinas Live, and RPTV.

[Related: PBA schedule: San Miguel, Meralco figure in Philippine Cup title showdown]

The PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup Finals are also ongoing, with games live on Pilipinas Live, PBA Rush, and RPTV.

(With reports from Gillian Trinidad/One Sports Digital)