MANILA, Philippines – San Mig head coach Tim Cone remains wary of Barangay Ginebra even after the Coffee Mixers took a 2-1 lead over the Kings in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals series last weekend.
Cone used a small line-up down the stretch and guards Mark Barroca and Justin Melton responded, leading San Mig to a 97-89 victory in Game 3.
That win allowed them to regain control of the series, but Cone told PBA.ph that he is expecting a tough game when they face off against Ginebra again for Game 4 on Wednesday.
“It’s gonna be a tough series. We’re still not comfortable being at 2-1,” said Cone. “We need to play A-plus to beat this team.”
Cone has reason to be wary. The Mixers had drawn first blood, winning Game 1 via a Mark Barroca jumper, but Ginebra responded by crushing them, 93-64, in Game 2.
“Last game was a blowout,” Cone said. “(Tonight) it was a really nice game.”
Barroca fired a career-high 25 points, while Melton provided a boost off the bench for the Mixers.
“We’re worried that we’re a little tired mentally, but we got great contributions down the stretch,” said Cone, who also praised his veterans for giving the team a good start.
“James (Yap), PJ (Simon), Ping (Marc Pingris), Rafi (Reavis) and Joe (Devance) set the tone for us, and Justin and Ian (Sangalang) picked it up in the fourth,” he added.
Three other Mixers scored in double figures, including Pingris, who finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Greg Slaughter had a career high 29 points to go along with 13 rebounds for Ginebra, but the Kings had no answer for Barroca down the stretch, and Melton added to their woes by firing two triples in the final quarter.