PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Cone far from satisfied as Ginebra braces for semis challenge vs San Miguel

Delfin Dioquino

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Cone far from satisfied as Ginebra braces for semis challenge vs San Miguel

UNDER THE BASKET. Christian Standhardinger in action for Barangay Ginebra in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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For Tim Cone, Ginebra has to be at its best from start to finish if it wants to stand a chance in a semifinal clash against San Miguel after seeing off NorthPort in the quarterfinals

MANILA, Philippines – The PBA playoffs are here and Tim Cone expects a level of play that matches the occasion.

Cone is far from satisfied even after Barangay Ginebra earned its place in the semifinals of the Commissioner’s Cup following a 106-93 win over NorthPort on Friday, January 19, as he rued the Gin Kings’ dip in intensity.

Twice-to-beat Ginebra led by as many as 23 points after holding the Batang Pier to just 35 points in the first half but got outperformed by a NorthPort side already missing star forward Arvin Tolentino in the last two quarters.

For Cone, the Gin Kings have to be at their best from start to finish if they want to stand a chance in their best-of-five semifinals against streaking San Miguel, which entered the final four on a high after winning its last six games.

“You do that against San Miguel, you’re going to get blown out. There is a lot that we have to clean up before we can meet San Miguel on even terms,” said Cone.

Cone has a lot of reasons to be worried.

The Beermen found a gem of an import in Bennie Boatwright, who is averaging 40.5 points on top 12.5 rebounds and 4 assists through four games since he came in as a replacement for Ivan Aska.

Pair him with seven-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and San Miguel boasts of a deadly twin tower capable of doing damage inside and out, with Boatwright norming nearly six three-pointers per game.

“Anytime you can get a tremendous import and match him with June Mar, it is a tough mountain to climb. They’re scoring in bunches. They’re really dictating the games,” said Cone.

Like the Beermen, Ginebra has been on a tear as well as it rides on a four-game winning streak with its ouster of the Batang Pier.

Tony Bishop paced Ginebra with 31 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Jamie Malonzo played his finest game of the conference with 21 points and 7 rebounds.

Best Player of the Conference frontrunner Christian Standhardinger also starred against his former team NorthPort, churning out a near triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Venky Jois notched a triple-double in the loss with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals, but the Batang Pier simply missed the production of Tolentino.

Tolentino, who leads all PBA locals in scoring with 22.4 points, sat out with a knee issue.

Sophomore big man JM Calma put up a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double for NorthPort, while Joshua Munzon added 19 points.

The Scores

Barangay Ginebra 106 – Bishop 31, Malonzo 21, Standhardinger 18, Ahanmisi 16, Pringle 8, Thompson 4, Tenorio 3, Pinto 3, J.Aguilar 2, Onwubere 0, Pessumal 0.

NorthPort 93 – Munzon 19, Calma 19, Jois 18, Zamar 12, Paraiso 5, Flores 4, Bulanadi 4, Yu 3, Chan 3, Taha 2, Rosales 2, Adamos 2, Amores 0.

Quarters: 25-22, 55-35, 76-63, 106-93.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.