MANILA -- Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone knew that their PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinal game against NLEX could have played out differently had the Road Warriors been at full strength last Sunday.
The Gin Kings cruised to a 127-93 victory over NLEX at the Araneta Coliseum, as they pounced on the absence of import Wayne Selden.
Selden, who averaged 31.9 points, 6.7 assists, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game, was sidelined due to a sprained foot that he sustained against San Miguel Beer last Wednesday.
"Let me say about this game, it's really, really bad luck," Cone said after the game, which assured them of a spot in the best-of-five semifinals against San Miguel Beer. "I didn't know until right before I was leaving the locker room to go out that their import was injured, he wasn't gonna play."
"We had no idea, and such bad luck for NLEX," he added. "Obviously, the game would have been a lot, lot different with [Wayne] Selden there. He's a stud."
"I commiserate with [NLEX coach] Frankie [Lim] and that group because it's really tough to lose your import going into the playoffs. That's like the worst luck you could have."
Selden came in as a replacement for Jonathan Simmons and made his debut against Barangay Ginebra on February 8, torching the Gin kings for 43 points. Ginebra still hacked out a 114-111 triumph in that game.
Cone hailed his players for staying focused and not falling into a trap of complacency against an import-less team. Justin Brownlee, in particular, set the tone for Ginebra with an aggressive start that saw him score 19 points in the first half.
"We didn't leave anything for chance. We didn't go down and let up. We stayed aggressive, especially Justin, [he] came out right from the beginning and really sent a message to everybody on the team and even on the other team that we're gonna take care of business tonight," Cone noted.
"Veteran teams understand that and get it done. Young teams often times fall into that trap. And we didn't fall into that trap. I was real pleased with that," he added.
The Gin Kings will now move on to the semis, where they will play sister team San Miguel in a best-of-5 series. The Beermen also took care of business on Sunday, crushing Converge 121-105 in their own quarterfinal match-up.
PBA Season 47 games can be streamed live and on-demand on iWantTFC with a Premium subscription, available worldwide except PH and US.