Barangay Ginebra is one victory away—and with three shots to do it—from booking a return trip to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup finalized, but coach Tim Cone is as cautious as ever.
“[It’s] one way we will not look at it,” he said about comfortably enjoying a 2-0 semifinal lead over San Miguel Beer. “You start saying you have that kind of lead, then you’re opening yourself out to being kampante (complacent).”
Cone’s guarded outlook stems from San Miguel’s ability to “put up big numbers in a hurry,” which has been on display several times throughout their Final Four duel.
That, coupled with the fact that the Beermen have never found themselves on the nasty end of a sweep of a race-to-three contest in its entire PBA existence has gotten the winningest coach raising his guard even higher.
That is why Cone is urging his charges—already playing so well even without veteran playmaker LA Tenorio and defensive whiz Japeth Agular—to do even better as they try to do the “impossible” sweep job at 3 pm on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
Breaking 1-1 tie
“You’re playing a good team like San Miguel, it’s nearly impossible to beat them three straight times. We’re going to try to do the impossible,” he said.
A victory by the Gin Kings will put the crowd darlings back in the last dance of the very tournament they have ruled four times in the last five seasons.
In the other semifinal matchup, interim coach Jojo Lastimosa is hardly concerned over TNT’s now-longer route to the championship series.
In fact, he sees the 124-117 overtime loss to Meralco last Sunday as the nudge the top-seeded Tropang Giga need at this point of the conference.
“We did not play well overall, and we did a lot of out-of-character plays,” he told the Inquirer on the eve of their 5:45 pm rematch with the Bolts that squared their series after two games.
“I hope the loss would wake us up from being in cruise control,” he said.
Prior to Sunday’s defeat, TNT had one loss throughout the conference. Now, Lastimosa feels that all Tropang Giga have to do is to rediscover the poise they had in the eliminations that eventually resulted in an impressive 10-1 record. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.