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PBA: Kings eye 2-0 buffer

Game Today
(Batangas City Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa
Game Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Meralco vs Star

Defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel attempts to gain a commanding 2-0 lead on TNT KaTropa the hard way as their best-of-five semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup heads further south tonight at the Batangas City Coliseum.

Ginebra put to rest its lopsided defeat to TNT in the elimination round by winning in similar fashion – a 121-94 rout two nights ago at the Smart Araneta Coliseum behind an all-around performance by almost every player coach Tim Cone inserted.

Cone, however, sees that victory which avenged their 121-92 loss to the KaTropa last Sept. 23 as both a positive and negative heading into the 7 p.m. match.

“In one way, we’re happy that we’re able to play like this and be able to beat them the way we did,” Cone said. “On the other hand, we just filled their back with a whole bunch of motivation going into Game 2. So there’s always a positive and a negative to blowouts in a series.”

TNT mentor Nash Racela can only hope that the massive setback would be beneficial for his squad as they try to avoid falling into a deep hole.

Asked what aspects of the game that needs to be changed after a dismal evening of basketball, Racela said: “A lot.

Hopefully, it would correct everything in a day.”

Ginebra controlled the series opener right from the opening tip with import Justin Brownlee and Joe Devance leading the first quarter assault. But it wasn’t until the third quarter when the Gin Kings made the contest into a blowout that left TNT in utter disgust.

Greg Slaughter asserted himself in the paint that left TNT in a quandary as which player can contain the 7-footer, symbolizing Ginebra’s height advantage.

Brownlee is pleased that Ginebra now has that edge over TNT, compared to the semis of the Commissioner’s Cup when they lost in four games against a KaTropa side that has big-bodied import Joshua Smith.

“What goes around comes around,” Brownlee said with a laugh. “Hopefully we just continue to take advantage of it. We got Greg and Japeth (Aguilar) down there, every chance we get we want to take advantage of that for sure.

“But we know TNT is a tough team, they will come out and make adjustments and we just gotta be prepared. Whatever we’re running, we just gotta run it with great purpose and do what we want to do,” he added.

Jayson Castro admitted TNT’s flat start affected their play all throughout. He said the KaTropa’s defense had numerous lapses while an 8-of-26 shooting from three-point shooting highlighted their struggles making shots.