MANILA, Philippines – Game 3 was not a loss coach Tim Cone could easily stomach.
Barangay Ginebra, the team he inherited this season, did not lose the right way on Wednesday, October 12. They did not play to their identity at a crucial point in the grandest stage and Cone wants to reel his players in before it’s too late.
“I was upset first minute onward, I was upset for 48 minutes. I didn’t think we played to our identity at all,” Cone told the press after Ginebra’s 107-103 setback that left them a game behind Meralco in the best-of-7 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
“If we’ve forgotten it, then we got to remember it because this thing is going to get away from us if we’re not careful.”
The Gin Kings stayed on top of the Bolts for most of the game but wound up playing catch up in the final quarter, only to absorb one big blow after another in the form of backbreaking triples from Jimmy Alapag and Reynel Hugnatan.
Down 44-51 very early in the third quarter, Cone called a timeout and ended up slamming his playboard and marker out of frustration.
Ginebra was promptly jolted into a 13-0 run but they still fell behind in the fourth amid the persistence of Meralco.
“I don’t know, like I said we’re not playing to our identity,” Cone said. “This is the wrong time to step away from your identity. You get to this point, you got to go with what’s gotten you here and we’re not doing that in this championship series.”
Ginebra has struggled with its offensive flow since Game 1, stifled by Meralco’s defense. That’s compounded by the superb play of Allen Durham, who is living up to his Best Import award when it matters most.
Ginebra took Game 2 when they shackled Durham to just 22 points after a 46-point Game 1 explosion. But coach Norman Black found ways to get Durham more touches and better looks in Game 3, allowing him to finish with 36 points and 20 rebounds.
“Our offense was much better tonight than last game. We reacted a little better to the defense they pulled out against us,” Black explained.
“Offensively we’re able to do a lot of different things that we didn’t do in Game 2, and a lot of patience in getting AD the ball and then moving the ball out of AD’s hands whenever they double teamed.”
Ginebra’s own Justin Brownlee was a bright spot with a conference-high 42 points and 13 rebounds. Though he took 38 attempts throughout the game.
“Defensively we weren’t real good,” Cone noted. “You give up 107 points, it’s just too many points. It’s obvious, we’re too Justin-reliant.“
Guard LA Tenorio never found his shooting stride and missed all 3 of his 3-point attempts but still finished with 14 points while Sol Mercado battled the flu and foul trouble for just 4 markers.
The Gin Kings bricked 18 3-point shots and made only 4 as opposed to the Bolts’ 12 made triples.
Meralco was also more aggressive in Game 3 and went to the line for 27 attempts and made 21, while Ginebra settled for just 7-of-14 from the foul line.
“I’m really disappointed with our play, I’m not discouraged, it’s too early to be discouraged. But I am disappointed with our play,” said Cone.
Ginebra will attempt to tie the series in Game 4 on Friday, October 14. – Rappler.com