Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee praised TNT for its execution on both ends of the floor in Game 2 of their semifinals series.
Aiming to avoid facing a 0-2 hole in a best-of-5, the KaTropa played with a sense of urgency and it showed from the onset.
“They just came out aggressive. They just came out like they needed to win,” said Brownlee after a 103-96 loss.
TNT took an 18-point lead early in the second quarter before Ginebra mounted a rally and made it interesting.
“We kind of countered their aggression in the second quarter, but they were just really focused, and whatever their game plan was, they executed it very well, gave us a problem tonight.”
The KaTropa took the Kings’ best shot and rolled through the punches with Glen Rice Jr. and Jayson Castro delivering in the crucial stages. Rice and Castro combined for 41 points.
Castro held TNT together in the third quarter when Rice had to sit on the bench the entire third quarter with four fouls.
A well-rested Rice, then, flourished in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 21 points.
“They just came out very physical. Early, we didn’t match it, but I think in that second quarter, we battled them pretty good. But I think they were just very focused on the details, on how they were guarding certain players,” said Brownlee, who topscored with 25 points.
Rookie Roger Pogoy served as one of TNT’s anchors defensively that caused problems for Ginebra’s execution and disrupted the Kings’ offensive flow.
“I think that’s a conference-low for us. I think we definitely need to move the ball better,” said Brownlee, referring to Ginebra’s 20 assists. “They did a good job, they were pressuring on the passing lanes, so I have to give a lot of credit to Talk ‘N Text.”
The pivotal Game 3 is on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Game 3 is going to be different. We’re definitely going to be ready.”