Barangay Ginebra has made good on a promise made two nights ago, playing with more passion and fortitude to hold off an intrepid Meralco team, 99-93, Friday night in game 2 of the Houses Cup Finals. Governor of the PBA at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Gin Kings ignited Bolts in the second stage, 40-19, and then showed with serious tension as enemies sighed down their necks to level the best-seven series in every game.
“I just think it’s a mental adjustment. We hit the field with a little more fire, a little more purpose,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
“We just played a really loose match in Game 1, and we knew we needed to tighten up everything that we did. And so we tightened up a lot of things,” he added.
No one could have envisioned that rebounding performance better than Justin Brownlee. Made to work on his shots in the opening match, the American imported an assist with a triple triple and finished with 36 points and 13 goals.
The beloved immigrant also made a major steal of Meralco’s guard Chris Banchero – which he converted into a thunderous two-handed swing – to get the wind from his side. Bolts upset to enter the final minute of the contest.
“We knew the game was coming back to them. Right now, leading… in basketball, they’re too arbitrary. You cannot sustain them because of the triple shot and the change in the game. And so we knew they were going to come back and play us in the second half,” Cone said.
“And it’s just a matter of trying to keep our posture ready,” he added. when the club pulls within 90-86, halfway of the payout bracket.
Banchero added 14 goals after the loss, but with Allein Maliksi opening the gaps, the Bolts lacked additional attacking water to complete a difficult comeback.
The two clubs reconcile on Sunday at 6:30pm at this bayside arena.
And fresh from a commendable performance, Brownlee is naturally eager to move on.
“It really feels great to be tied down, but not satisfying because we know we have a lot of work to do. That’s what we plan to do today. We tried to do whatever we could to end the series and try to start from there,” he said.
More than ending the series, the victory gave Cone and the Gin Kings more time to bring back Japeth Aguilar.
The series will now require Game 5, which will be played on Easter Sunday.
“Well, that was huge for us. I mean, he got a little extra time. And hopefully, he’ll be ready for those important games. And he’ll have more practice time before those games arrive,” Cone said of his ward.
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