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PBA: Cone downplays win

Game Today
(Smart Araneta)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Ginebra

But says Game 2 will be ‘a big deal’.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel veteran mentor Tim Cone has been in the league for so long he knows that their Game 1 win in the semifinal series against defending champion San Miguel Beer is nothing to crow about.

In his own words: “It’s not that big a deal.”

This next one, according to Cone, however, is “a big deal” as the Kings shoot for a 2-0 lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup semis tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra, on its first semifinals in three years or since the Philippine Cup in 2013, scored a nail-biting 115-108 win in the opener of the best-of-five showdown.

The owner of a league record 18 championships and two Grand Slam titles, however, thinks there is no safe advantage, especially against a formidable squad like SMB led by reigning two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.

“It was a good win, but it doesn’t win a series,” said Cone.

“It’s not that big a deal. Game 2 becomes a big deal because San Miguel Beer will put this (setback) away and get focused on the next one.”

Ginebra import Justin Brownlee dropped 39 points, including nine points in the final quarter. Brownlee, who also had 14 rebounds, completed a three-point play off a foul by Arwind Santos that gave them a 111-102 lead with 1:21 to play.

Ginebra likewise had solid contribution from veteran Japeth Aguilar and rookie Scottie Thompson, who finished with 11 points and 10 assists while adding six rebounds – a performance that drew praise from star point guard LA Tenorio.

“The good thing about him is nagre-respond siya,” said Tenorio of Thompson, who delivered at a time when the latter went scoreless after firing 32 points against Alaska in the quarterfinals.

“Para sa akin he’s not a rookie anymore, alam na niya kung ano ang gagawin niya.”

As for SMB, coach Leo Austria hopes to makes the necessary adjustments after the setback, particularly on putting the ball on the hands of the reigning back-to-back MVP.