But San Mig hopes to put Kings in 0-2 hole
by Waylon Galvez
Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – Ginebra vs San Mig Coffee
San Mig Super Coffee head coach Tim Cone is bracing for a fight-back when the Mixers face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in Game 2 of their semifinal showdown in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup playoffs today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The fifth-seeded San Mig came out victorious against the top seeded Ginebra in Game 1 last Tuesday night (85-83) with Mark Barroca nailing a late key jumper for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven showdown.
Cone expects another intense-filled encounter in the lone 8 p.m. game.
“Game 1 could have gone either way and I don’t see that changing throughout the series,” said Cone, who is eyeing another finals stint with San Mig, which he led to a championship – his 15th in the league to tie the legendary Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan – during the Governors’ Cup last season.
“Every game is going to be a test of will (for both teams). We expect Barangay Ginebra to jump up to another gear and it’s on us to be prepared. This is going to get more exciting,” added Cone, whose team’s previous win was their seventh in the last eight games dating back to the latter stage of the elimination round.
San Mig was actually down by eight points (65-57) entering the final frame, and Ginebra was still ahead 83-81 when LA Tenorio converted a fast break layup with 32 seconds left in the game.
However, Cone and his team never gave up.
Joe Devance leveled the score at 83-all, and then San Mig’s defense forced Mac Baracael to call a time out twice – first when he was trapped near mid-court and second when trying to inbound the ball.
That was Ginebra’s last timeout, so when Baracel – again – inbounded the ball, he was pressured and his pass intended to Greg Slaughter was deflected by Rafi Reavis and Barroca grabbed the loose ball. Barroca buried a jump shot with 11.6 seconds left in the game for an 85-83 lead.
With no timeout left to call, LA Tenorio was forced to shoot a three-pointer, although his attempt was off its mark and Mark Pingris grabbed the ball. Pingris, who was fouled, missed his two free throws and Tenorio recovered the leather but his heave from half court was short as time expired.
Ginebra coach Ato Agustin said it was poor execution on their part, particularly in the endgame.
Agustin, a former PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), expressed optimism going into Game 2 of the series, knowing they can bounce back although he cautioned that they have to be more disciplined in running their plays.
“We need to be disciplined, parang nagka-kanya-kanya sa second and fourth quarters e, one pass then shoot. We always remind the players to execute the plays, and move the ball. Teamwork talaga dapat,” said Agustin.
In Game 1, the Kings’ ‘Twin Towers’ of 6-foot-10 Japeth Aguilar and 7-foot rookie Slaughter wasn’t as dominating as their previous games as they combined for just 24 points and 18 rebounds, while Tenorio collected 16 points and Baracael added 12 markers.
Agustin expects more help coming from former MVPs Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand managed just a combined of 12 points, as well as Chris Ellis, Emman Monfort and JayR Reyes.
As for San Mig, Cone will try to give more playing time to James Yap and PJ Simon, who played mostly in the first half as he leaned to Barroca and rookie Justin Melton in the finals stretch of Game 1. The frontline of Pingris, Devance, Reavis and Yancy de Ocampo are also expected to step up.