Kings, Painters score
Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone has been in this situation before. Just recently, in fact.
So it’s no surprise that despite crawling out of a grind-out game with an 85-79 victory that gave his Kings a 1-0 edge over rival Magnolia in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series on Saturday night, Cone hardly felt victorious.
“As much as we won, it feels like a loss,” Cone said after the game at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Kings held the Hotshots to a single field goal in the last five minutes and got big shots from Justin Brownlee, Stanley Pringle and Greg Slaughter for a crucial headstart in their best-of-three series.
Slaughter completed a three-point play with 2:06 remaining for the final count and Ginebra’s defense completed the job in a game where it couldn’t run its usual pace.
“Magnolia really did a good job muddying up the game,” coach Tim Cone said. “They kept the pace slow, they kept a great job limiting the touches of Justin and Stanley.”
“I gotta handle it better and make sure we’re better prepared” for Game 2 on Tuesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, said Cone, whose wards took a similar series lead against Magnolia in the recent Philippine Cup only to get booted out after the Hotshots won the next two games.
“We’ve been here twice already. Obviously, we’re not ready to celebrate anything at this point. We know how good they are,” he said.
Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia also felt like he was headed for a loss in the earlier game. But Rey Nambatac had other plans.
Nambatac hit a three-pointer with four seconds remaining as the Elasto Painters nipped Blackwater, 83-80, to also grab a 1-0 series lead.
“Fate was on our side,” Garcia said after letting out a sigh of relief. “We were down. I thought we were going home with a loss.”
Ed Daquioag led the Painters with 19 points while import Carl Montgomery added 17 points and 19 rebounds. Nambatac added 13 for Rain or Shine.
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