Barangay Ginebra must sustain energy after digging out of 0-2 hole
MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra has pulled themselves out of a 0-2 hole and back into their Manila Clasico semifinals series against the Star Hotshots, after a 93-86 victory on Wednesday, February 15.
It's been a taxing series so far for both teams, the two top defensive squads in the league this 2017 PBA Philippine Cup conference.
Coach Tim Cone was quick to recognize the next challenge facing his squad.
"This is our fourth or sixth game in 11 days. Every one of them has been tough. There hasn't been an easy game, win or lose. I think the key for us now is try to continue to find energy," he noted during the post-game press conference.
"With their pressure and the way they're playing, the energy of Pingris and Jalalon, that's our battle right now for Game 5, finding and sustaining energy. Hopefully we can get a second wind."
The Gin Kings rallied from the series deficit on the strength of their defense and making critical shots in the endgame. They've also lived on the free throw line.
Ginebra shot a combined 35-of-49 from the stripe in Games 3 and 4 while Star was a mere 12-of-16.
"I don't think it's gonna be any different from the last 4 games. Both teams are defending really well," Cone said.
"They've adjusted and we've tried to adjust to their schemes in-game. But I think they're still gonna start adjusting. We haven't found anything that's written in stone for us.
"Today we did some different things from last game. We're still searching. If we don't defend, we know they are going to defend, so we have to keep up with them defensively."
Ginebra did have a bit of a boost with the return of Joe Devance since Game 3. Though still dealing with his foot injury from the quarterfinals, Devance managed to make contributions (10 points in Games 3 and 4 total).
But his resilience to continue playing has meant much more to the team than can be quantified.
"Joe only had a half in him today, he couldn't play in the second half. He's still getting his shots but it wore out quickly this time," Cone explained.
"He's giving us an emotional lift every time. Guys are looking at him, seeing what he's doing and sacrificing himself, and that elevates our chemistry and our teamwork.
"Joe if nothing else is a team guy. He's always been a team guy. We're gonna play it day by day with him. Get him some rest, send the therapist home with him, keep him iced all night, give him another injection before Game 5, and see what he can do."
Game 5 will happen on Friday, February 17. – Rappler.com