PBA: For Cone, Ginebra's 2-0 lead 'means nothing' against TNT

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2020 04:57 PM

The Gin Kings are up 2-0 in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals despite not playing well, according to their own coach. PBA Media Bureau.


MANILA, Philippines -- His team may be up 2-0 in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup finals, but Ginebra coach Tim Cone sees no reason for the Gin Kings to feel comfortable.

Twice now in the best-of-seven series, the Gin Kings have gotten the better of TNT Tropang Giga in crunch time. In Game 1, rookie Arvin Tolentino hit the game-tying layup, and Ginebra took a 100-94 win in overtime.

In Game 2 last Wednesday night, Scottie Thompson hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 30 seconds left to complete the Gin Kings' rally from a 15-point deficit. They went on to win 92-90, and seize a 2-0 lead.

"We're thankful to win tonight," said Cone afterward. "But we didn't play well."

Cone wouldn't deny that some of the breaks went their way. In Game 1, TNT had the chance to win in regulation but Jayson Castro's floater hit the back iron. In Game 2, Castro and Roger Pogoy missed three-pointers that could have tied the game.

In Pogoy's case, it was his fourth miss from beyond the arc after making five three-pointers in the game.

"Just like in Game 1, I felt that we could have played a lot better in Game 1 and we were thankful to win that," said Cone.

"We're a little bit lucky," he admitted. "We were separated by one free throw. We were down all game long today."

Given how close the games were, Cone said Ginebra cannot feel as though they are the much better team, despite having a 2-0 lead. He pointed out that both games could have gone either way.

"That means the series can turn on a dime. (A) 2-0 lead means nothing with a team like Talk 'N Text, and I honestly truly feel that from the bottom of my heart," he said.

"Again, the game was separated by a couple of big-time shots," he said. "We made them and they didn't tonight."

"So, how can we be comfortable at this point knowing we played and they dominated us pretty much the two games and yet we were able to win?"

Both Ginebra and TNT have one day to rest, recover, and prepare for Game 3 on Friday, still at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.

For Cone, the challenge is to get his starters untracked once again. Japeth Aguilar, after a dominant Game 1, was held to six points on Wednesday. Thompson's go-ahead triple was his lone field goal of the game, and LA Tenorio didn't score until the closing seconds, when his five free throws iced the win.

Stanley Pringle, with 34 points, was the lone Ginebra starter to play up to par. Fortunately for Ginebra, they got a 20-point outing off the bench from Aljon Mariano.

TNT, meanwhile, will hope to have Ray Parks back. The explosive swingman sat out Game 2 because of a left calf strain, and it remains to be seen if he will see action on Friday night.

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