Barangay Ginebra’s attempt to successfully defend the PBA Governor’s Cup title is still alive and well, but after the knockouts ended last Friday, the Gin Kings have found themselves in an uncomfortable situation for them. knockout round.
After finishing sixth in the standings, the crowd favorites held TNT for the third time this season – coming up against the very same team that smashed their title-holding record in the Philippine Cup. Making things eerily similar is that the Kings are once again tasked with winning twice while facing the hottest team of the tournament to date.
Ginebra, a team made up of seasoned veterans and some of the league’s top talent, barely lived up to its powerhouse card in this conference mainly because of manpower issues.
And coach Tim Cone is pointing out the team’s poor effort in late game situations.
But for seasoned Cone, there was an even bigger culprit.
“The obvious reason was that we didn’t play well defensively,” Cone said.
“We will get 5 for 6 words [Rain or Shine’s] Kris Rosales, 8 for 9 words [TNT’s] Ryan Reyes. Teams always shoot more than 50% at us from the three-point line,” he added while shaking his head in disbelief. “This is the Ginebra curse. Everyone is well prepared to play Ginebra. ”
That February night, when Reyes hit eight or three games, Tropang Giga practically toppled Kings everywhere, taking home the 119-92 knockout victory that had practically been decided in the first three.
The defending champions were really funny when defending this tournament, scoring an average of 103.8 points. They are only better off against two teams: terrible, 1-10 Blackwater and 2-9 Terrafirma, and have only been able to hold opposing clubs below the 100-point mark just three times during the qualifying period.
However, that hardly makes TNT partner Chot Reyes comfortable.
“We did all we could to win [the game against NorthPort] just to face Ginebra,” he said in Filipino with a chuckle.
Roger Pogoy, one of Tropang Giga’s top guns, has made an even better argument: You can’t simply dismiss a Ginebra team playing easily with one of the best imports that they can’t make. This tournament has witnessed in recent years.
“You can’t rely on confidence this time,” Pogoy told a pair of reporters, referring to TNT’s easy quarter-final win over Ginebra at the last conference. “[Justin] Brownlee’s in there. ”
“We’ll just have to stick to our game plan, carry on with what we normally do,” he added.
TNT is entering the fray as the most dynamic favorites, with Tropang Giga ending the preliminary round with five wins in a row.
Ginebra will have to be really careful when the knockouts take place this Wednesday, but Cone, thanks to his vast experience, already knows how to navigate such a dangerous path.
“We have to play better defensively, challenge more and rise up [on the court] much more,” he said.
Ginebra will fight without fire guard Stanley Pringle and two-way veterans Jared Dillinger and Aljon Mariano, but Cone believes the Gin Kings can make it through after winning pride and building confidence against Rain’s side or the unlucky Shine last week.
“Even though they’ve handled us with ease the last few times we’ve played them, I don’t think he’s going to choose to play us,” he said of Reyes and TNT.
“We play a little bit better now than we did in the middle of the conference. We hope to give [TNT] a battle,” he continued.
“[W]Just focus on winning a match against them and don’t worry about anything out there first [game]. ” INQ
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