Kings battle two halves mode

    GETTING AWAY: Stanley Pringle of Ginebra gets away from Rafi Reavis and Mark Barroka of Magnolia in last Sunday’s game.
    FILE PHOTO; Stanley Pringle of Ginebra gets away from Rafi Reavis and Mark Barroka of Magnolia.

    GINEBRA seems to have what it takes in its bid to reclaim the PBA Governors Cup crown it lost last year.

    Coach Tim Cone, however, was not so sure, saying his charges are suffering from


    “We’ve been a team of two halves all conference long,” said the league’s winningest coach.

    “We’ve played one average or below average half and then one great half. Today, we played the average half in the first half and then they played the great half in the second. We gotta find a way to kinda smooth that out.”

    Cone spoke after Ginebra played a terrific second half to bury defending champion Magnolia 105-83 last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    The win was the Kings’ second straight against powerhouse teams, coming on the heels of a 129-124 victory over Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer the Sunday before.

    Cone was admittedly taken aback by the seeming ease with which the Kings pulled it off against the Hotshots, but also expressed pleasure in their continued rise in the standings.
    “We’re surprised. I’m absolutely surprised that we were able to put that game away like we did,” said Cone after Ginebra jacked its record to 3-2, good for fifth.

    “It was big in the standings, we stayed at two losses now,” noted Cone. “I think there’re only five teams now with only two losses or less. We were really looking at the standings going into this game. We knew this was a big game for us to win, to knock them to four losses and also to get the quotient. Big performance for us.”

    If only the Kings would play solid in both halves.

    “We were doing a lot of stuff individually. We had six three-point shots made in the first quarter and yet we were still down by five after that,” said Cone.

    “That’s really not our game. The ball wasn’t moving. We talked about the ball whizzing around, it wasn’t whizzing around. The ball was very slow going around the court.”

    Ginebra only had seven assists in the first half, giving Cone fits.

    “At halftime, even though we were leading by one point (35-34), we said that if we play like we did in that first half we are not going to beat this (Magnolia) team,” related Cone.

    “This team is too good. We really needed to tighten our game up, especially defensively, and get more ball movement.”

    Heeding Cone’s words, Ginebra did play more in synch in the second half. The Kings boomed in six 3s in the third quarter to eventually gain separation from Magnolia. Stanley Pringle accounted for the first two of those bombs that gave his side some breathing room at 58-49.

    Romeo Travis’ jumper brought Magnolia within 56-60 but momentum was simply on the side of Ginebra as Jeff Chan drained two straight triples to spark an 11-0 burst. Another Chan trey with 2:30 to go in the period even hiked the lead to 75-59.

    The Kings turned up the heat even more in the fourth quarter, stretching their lead to as large as 103-76 before officially dropping the Hotshots to a third straight loss and a 3-4 slate overall.