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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Cone braces for seesaw finals series

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TIM CONE braces for another major Hong Kong Bay Area comeback as the Finals series for the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup crown has started to look like a seesaw battle.

“Now it’s their turn to response in Game 4 after what they did in Game 2,” said Cone, whose Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings took Game 3, 89-82, two nights ago to move up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Game 4—set at 5:45 p.m. Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena—could change in complexion with the Dragons potentially changing their import.

Prolific Andrew Nicholson sprained his ankle in Game 3 and was immediately brought to a hospital for treatment. Cone said the Dragons could potentially replace him with the equally prolific Myles Powell.

“We don’t have any idea yet if they change their import. If they do, we have to make our own defensive adjustments,” Cone said. “But I am praying and hoping that Nicholson will be fine and available to play.”

Justin Brownlee carried Ginebra on his shoulders by scattering 19 of his 34 points in the pivotal fourth quarter of Game 3.

LA Tenorio also stepped up in the final period for the Gin Kings by scoring six of his eight points, with Scottie Thompson making a crucial putback off Nicholson and Malonzo breaking a tie with a triple under one minute remaining.

“We just kept going, kept playing aggressively and got out energy from the crowd,” said Brownlee, who also had 17 rebounds, four assists and three steals in Game 3.

Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian could hardly hide his frustration about Game 3 but refused to mince words, unlike Powell and Hayden Blankley who were summoned by the Commissioner’s Office for reacting negative on how the referees called Game 3.

Nicholson had 23 points and 24 rebounds in Game 3 for the Dragons, who obviously need consistency from Game 2 hero Songwei Zhu, who only scored 12 points on Wednesday night after scoring 25 points in Game 2. Blankley finished with only 10 points.

Christian Standhardinger made 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field while Thompson had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds and Malonzo made 10 points for the Gin Kings.

The Gin Kings opened the series with a 96-81 win in Game 1 where Goorjian admitted he and the Dragons groped on how to play a PBA championship series.

The Dragons fought back strong in Game 2 with a disciplined game marked by a solid defense, 99-82, to even the series.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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