Ginebra, TNT shoot for 2-0 lead
GRAND slam Coach Earl Timothy “Tim” Cone and his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel eye a commanding 2-0 lead over Meralco in their best- of-five semifinal showdown in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Pampanga.
But the winningest PBA coach with 22 titles—including two grand slam—reminded his wards to immediately focus on Game Two and forget the one-game advantage they took after routing the Bolts in Game One (96-79) last Wednesday.
“Yesterday ended last night. That’s what we need our guys to be thinking about. We have to quickly move forward from last night and get focused on today’s practice and tomorrow’s game,” Cone told Businessmirror, who drew 19 points and seven rebounds from Stanley Pringle in Game One.
Cone insisted they need to show hunger in this series.
“Everything went right for us and everything went wrong for them in the last game,” he said. “That’s not going to happen tomorrow. We are going to need to come out mentally stronger.”
Earl Scottie Thompson had an all-around performance of 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Ginebra.
After neutralizing San Miguel Beer’s twiceto-beat incentive thus ending the Beermen’s five-season dynasty, the Bolts looked sluggish at the start of their semifinals series against the Gin Kings.
Coach Norman Black, however, refused to give excuses after that one-sided loss. He said they need to come out stronger and smarter.
“It’s now pretty clear that we have to play at a higher level to beat Ginebra. Offensively, defensively we just have to execute better,” Black said. “More importantly, we have to play with more energy and match their intensity level on the court.”
TNT Tropang Giga Coach Ferdinand “Bong” Ravena, meanwhile, said he wasn’t happy with the way they played Phoenix Super LPG in Game One, which they won by a hair, 95-93.
“We’re not happy at all with the way we played. We had many breakdowns,” Ravena said. “They played really well. We must play better or we will be in trouble.”
Matthew Wright, who suffered an ankle injury in the early part of Game One and didn’t return, believes his Phoenix team could win the series despite losing the opener.
“They played well enough to win and I’m proud of them,” said Wright, who will be a game-time decision on Friday.
The Ginebra-meralco match is set at 3:45 p.m., while the Tnt-phoenix duel kicks off at 6:45 p.m.