THE real Ginebra squad everybody know and love showed up Monday night and, as expected, gave NorthPort a dose of its own medicine in their PBA Governors Cup semifinals duel.
It’s now the Kings’ turn to brace for a big fightback by the Batang Pier tonight in Game 3 of their best-of-five matchup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“They had all the answers in Game 1, we had all the answers in Game 2 and that usually means that Game 3 is gonna be a huge battle,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“We know it’s gonna be a tight game and a huge battle,” added Cone.
The league’s winningest coach spoke moments after his side’s 113-88 win last Monday that negated its 90-124 embarrassment in the series opener just two days before.
As is his wont following a loss, NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio declined from granting any interview and hurriedly made his way out of the Big Dome.
Still, Cone knows exactly what the Batang Pier’s intent should be. “We know they’re gonna bounce back too,” he said.
“They’ve shown great character over their last six, eight, 10 games so we’ll see if we can cope with them.”
Nothing less is expected of NorthPort, trying to become the latest eighth-seed to make it to the finals after the now-defunct Powerade did it last in the 2012 Philippine Cup.
But after showcasing that desire so well last Saturday the Batang Pier suddenly came out bland in Game 2, completely relinquishing control right in the waning minutes of the opening quarter and eventually trailing by as many as 36 points.
“The intensity in the first game… they had it. They obviously are the hungrier team, coming out of the blocks in the last game,” noted Cone.
“I thought today we showed the playoff intensity that we kind of expected to have in the first game. I thought we came out and did a better job of understanding what we want to do and executing what we want to do,” added Cone. “Just a good all-around game for us, offensively and defensively.”
Greg Slaughter, who only had four points in Game 1 but typified Ginebra’s bounce back with 16 points and nine rebounds last Monday, echoed Cone’s assessment.
“I think it was an all-around game for us. I think everyone played really well all around,” said the 7-foot center.
“LA (Tenorio) really set the tempo for us. Scottie (Thompson) gave us so many hustle points. Aljon (Mariano) really did a good job guarding their import today,” added Slaughter.
“I think it just made my job easy scoring the ball next to the hoop.”