The end of the third quarter the San Antonio Spurs was already leading by 12 points against the Miami Heat. Manu Ginobili slowly walked off the court all the way to the Spurs bench as the crowd cheered and greeted him with “Manu! Manu! Manu!”
It was a familiar chant that echoes repeatedly in the Alamo dome for years. Something that Manu had slowly forgotten as his minutes slowly diminished along with his basketball skills. It’s been such a long time since Manu completely dominated a ball game.
Along with the pressure pack NBA finals, with all the doubts about taking over a game and with constant thoughts about retirement, Manu once again dug deep and found his old self back, scoring 24 points and delivering 10 assists. Ginobili is like the old veteran boxer that somehow found his groove and his second wind to rally himself to one last victory. Manu knew that this could be his last opportunity to win another title with Tim Duncan as both are battling father time with lots of basketball mileage.
He simply dominated the ball game when it mattered the most as the Spurs move a game closer to their fifth franchise championship and Manu’s fourth title.
Game five belongs to San Antonio… their last finals home game and could be Ginobili’s last game in Texas.
One game… one final push and the Spurs will once again be the NBA champions. This is a battle between the old veterans and the young athletic team and it all boils down to who wanted it most.
Everybody in San Antonio knows that this series is far from over. Lebron James is bent on protecting and defending their championship and Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will do everything to back James up towards winning two consecutive wins to get their title back.
Nobody is celebrating yet… everything is still premature but for Manu Ginobili, he just wants to savor this moment because somehow, somewhere those deafening chants will become mere whispers… Just like a faded memory.