MANILA, Philippines – Coach Tim Cone made it clear to Barangay Ginebra that there should be no celebration even after they forced a knockout quarterfinal match against TNT in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Gin Kings, after all, have accomplished only half of the job, with Cone admitting that it will be doubly hard to notch a repeat win in order to eliminate the twice-to-beat Tropang Giga.
“It is just a game, one game. All we did was even out the odds,” Cone said.
“They had the overwhelmingly big odds coming into this series and now we’ve kind of halved those odds. [But] they’re still the favorites.”
Ginebra was arguably the heavy underdog considering it had not beaten TNT all season long.
Their previous meeting ended with the Tropang Giga handing the Gin Kings their most lopsided loss of the conference in a 27-point beatdown.
But Cone pushed the right buttons this time as the No. 6 seed Ginebra hacked out a 104-92 victory on Wednesday, March 16, to stay in the running for its fourth championship in the last five editions of the Governors’ Cup.
TNT had no answers for the trio of Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, and Japeth Aguilar.
Brownlee unloaded 38 points and 12 rebounds, Thompson flirted with a triple-double with 23 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Aguilar churned out 21 points and 7 rebounds.
Still, Cone is far from pleased, knowing that Chot Reyes and the rest of the Tropang Giga will make the necessary adjustments to prevent the Gin Kings from pulling off another win.
“That is why twice-to-beat is so hard to overcome – you can always get the first one, but the second one is much, much tougher,” Cone said.
“All we did was just even the odds a little bit. Certainly not in our favor, but it is now a little bit more even.”
The do-or-die duel is slated on Saturday, March 19, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com