Cone braces for TNT fightback in Game 2


IF Game 1 turned out to be easy, Game 2 won’t potentially be another walk in the park for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

“We are expecting TNT to surprise us with something and we have to prepare,” Ginebra head coach Tim Cone told BusinessMirror on Tuesday.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven Finals for the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup is set at 5:45 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings beat the Tropang Giga with enough to spare, 102-90, in the opener on Easter Sunday night at the Big Dome.

But Cone, the most successful coach in the league, knows winning Game 1 gives a team a headstart, but not a guarantee.

“Winning Game 1 never assures you of winning the series and it never assures you of losing the series, but it gives you a leg up,” he said.

“We have to do the same things and we always talk about growing our game plan,” he said. “We’re going to go out and try a little bit better and improve on what we’re doing every game.”

TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson did the job expected of a certified National Basketball Association player with his 30 points, 20 rebounds and five assists.

If he did well, only Mikey Williams and Calvin Oftana—23 and 16 points, respectively—were the only TNT locals who matched the import’s intensity.

And that’s what bothers Cone.

“TNT didn’t have a great shooting night in Game 1,” Cone said.

Roger Pogoy was limited to only six points and went 1 of 5 shooting with his three-pointers for TNT.

Ginebra, on the other hand, had a feast with  Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson finishing with a triple-double of 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, enough to compliment  import Justin Brownlee’s 31 points—17 in the first period—and 12 rebounds.

Jamie Malonzo had 21 points, Christian Standhardinger 16 points and 11 rebounds and Stanley Pringle 11 points to be in the game for the Gin Kings.

TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa admitted that they were outgunned by Ginebra but trusts his wards to be in their elements for Game 2.

“Roger Pogoy and even Jayson Castro know what needs to be done and I’m hoping they can pick it up offensively in the next game so it will be a better game for us,” Lastimosa said.

Lastimosa also wanted 6-foot-7 JP Erram to come to his senses in Game 2.

Erram, TNT’s only available big man with Kelly Williams and Justin Chua out with injuries—fouled out two minutes into the final quarter.

It didn’t help Eram any as he lost his cool and kept complaining to the referees.

“Poy’s [Eram] got to do a better job of controlling his emotions. I was actually pissed at him and his teammates because he’s beginning to be a distraction by complaining too much,” Lastimosa said. “We need him in the game now.”

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