PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Cone, Ginebra brace for pumped-up Clasico semis vs Magnolia

Delfin Dioquino
Cone, Ginebra brace for pumped-up Clasico semis vs Magnolia

CLASICO. Barangay Ginebra sets up a best-of-five semifinals with Magnolia.

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Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia will duke it out in a playoff series for the first time in three years

MANILA, Philippines – Tim Cone expects nothing less but a “tremendous” duel as Barangay Ginebra arranged a Clasico semifinal date with Magnolia.

The Gin Kings and the Hotshots will duke it out in a playoff series for the first time in three years after Ginebra completed a quarterfinal sweep of NorthPort off a come-from-behind 99-93 victory on Saturday, December 10.

“We’ve had so many battles with that team, we know them well, they know us well. They know what we like to do,” said Cone.

Ginebra is one of only two teams to beat Magnolia this conference, fighting back from a 15-point deficit in a 103-97 comeback win earlier in the elimination round.

That victory ended the Gin Kings’ four-game losing streak to the Hotshots dating back to the 2019 Governors’ Cup in their Clasico battles.

But even as Ginebra holds the psychological advantage in their looming semifinal clash against Magnolia, Cone feels their latest quarterfinal win leaves much to be desired.

The Gin Kings trailed by as many as 18 points and almost squandered a double-digit lead down the stretch before they held on to eliminate the Batang Pier.

“If we play like that against Magnolia, it is not going to be much of a Clasico. We got to really pick it up,” said Cone.

“We still had a lot of mental errors and that is not really the characteristic of our team, but it showed up today. We got to be able to play back-to-back games in the playoffs a lot better than we did tonight.”

As Ginebra guns for its fourth finals appearance over the last six conference, Cone banks on the Gin Kings’ faithful to help them in their cause.

“Hopefully the fans will come out, and because it is a Manila Clasico, it will be a loud gym and that will pump up both teams,” said Cone.

“I think it is going to be a tremendous series.”

The semifinals will tip off on Wednesday, December 14, at the PhilSports Arena. – 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.