May 10, 1988
Their third confrontation was at the end of the first round of the semifinals, Purefoods was 3-0 in the semis and carrying a 9-4 won-loss card, Ginebra was coming off two losses and at 7-6. This time, we watch it on TV and didn’t went to the ULTRA to see the game live, the hotdogs did well only in the first quarter which Ginebra took, 32-26, the Gins erected a 15-point lead at the half at 64-49, except from a brief run by Purefoods in the third quarter cutting the lead to four, there were some exchange of words between Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski and Purefoods import David Thirdkill and one action sequence where Thirdkill missed an easy layup and Jaworski on the other side of the court shows Thirdkill how to do it by scoring his own layup, It was Ginebra all the way from a 92-82 tally at the end of the third period, the Gins had their biggest lead of 22 points at 109-87, the Hotdogs managed to trim down the lead to seven, 113-120, in the final minute of a won ballgame by Ginebra, and the final score of 124-115 for Ginebra, its the Big J now 2-1 over Fernandez, as it seems El Presidente’s team is having a hard time winning over Ginebra in the past four conferences (Tanduay won only twice in 9 games with Ginebra last year).
Photo images from the third meeting between Ginebra and Purefoods
May 22, 1988
Their fourth and final battle in the 1988 PBA Open Conference, Purefoods Hotdogs at 11-6 is one win away from challenging San Miguel Beer for the Open Conference finals, the beermen enter the finals three nights before, Ginebra San Miguel is 10-wins, 7-loss, needed to beat the Hotdogs to force a do-or-die sudden death playoff, unlike in their first two games in the eliminations, we had a better view this time sitting at the lower level seats, their last match turn out to be closest game in four meetings, Ginebra led by three points in all three quarters, 36-33, 60-57 (Waller scored a buzzer-beating dunk for a three-point edge at the half) and 85-82, In the fourth quarter, Purefoods were in danger of being forced into a knockout game as the Gins led by six, 92-86, the hotdogs responded with an 8-1 run to grab the lead, 94-93, a triple by Leo Isaac gave Ginebra a 100-96 lead going into the last four-five minutes, one of the rare times the 6-1 Ginebra guard make a three-point attempt (Isaac also hit a crucial triple in the Ginebra-Hills Bros KO game last year), the Hotdogs were so close in losing the match, trailing 102-104 in the last minute with several turnovers, if not for a steal and a basket that tied the count at 104-all, and having the final possession in regulation where David Thirdkill missed a three-pointer on a hurried attempt, as the game went into overtime, Ginebra last tasted the lead at 107-106, with the score 111-109 for Purefoods after Thirdkill split his free throws, the Ginebras called a timeout to design one final play, the Gins wasted so much time on the clock until Jamie Waller missed his game-tying basket at close range as the buzzer sounded, Purefoods playing-coach Ramon Fernandez ran towards the center court in jubilation as the Hotdogs enter the finals in their very first conference in the PBA. Although not as worse as what happen to the Hills Bros-Ginebra playoff last year, some fans at the gallery section pelted the court with plastic cups, and threw sorts of debris at the post-game.
Ramon Fernandez aims for history, raises his arms after Purefoods beat Ginebra in overtime, to enter the finals.