San Mig Coffee's Marc Pingris grabs the offensive rebound against Alaska. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – San Mig Coffee may have leveled their PBA Commissioners Cup best-of-three quarter-finals series against Alaska, but the Aces' defense continues to torment the Mixers and their head coach, Tim Cone.
In a grueling defensive battle, San Mig came from behind to beat Alaska, 70-65, thanks to another heroic performance by Marc Pingris (17 points, 12 rebounds) and force a do-or-die game for a spot in the semi-finals.
“Somehow, we won it and I’m not sure how,” Cone said, as quoted by PBA.ph. “We’ll take it and see what we could do in Game 3.” [http://pba.inquirer.net/44441/san-mig-coffee-grinds-out-win-to-stay-alive]
It was the lowest scoring game of the conference, and Cone admitted after the contest that Alaska’s stout defense gave them tremendous problems.
“It’s just a huge struggle playing against Alaska’s defense. It’s hard to find any gaps or breaks within their defense. It’s so incredibly solid,” said Cone.
“They’re very frustrating to play. It’s hard to get a rhythm. They take you off on what you want to do,” he added.
San Mig made only 21 of their 60 field goal attempts in the game, including 3-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc. The Aces weren’t much better, going 25-for-70 and 9-for-34 from three.
“They’re defending at a championship level, without a doubt,” Cone said of Alaska. “(Import Rob) Dozier and Sonny Thoss are just two beasts to play against, and their defense is just phenomenal.”
“I’m really amazed by it,” he said.
This makes Cone doubly proud to see his players find the gaps in the defense and finally grind out a victory, ending what was a four-game slide since the elimination round.
“We needed a win, and we haven’t won in a seemingly long time,” Cone pointed out. “I think we’ve lost six or seven games. So this is something which would hopefully give us some confidence, and maybe we’ll start making some shots and play with a little bit more pizzazz.”