After back-to-back routs, Ginebra, NorthPort seek key Game 3 victory
There’s definitely no trend going on in the Barangay Ginebra-NorthPort Final Four series in the PBA Governors’ Cup, with the first two games being decided by a combined 79 points.
The only thing certain is that the Batang Pier are the ones who need to make adjustments in their 7 p.m. Game 3 contest, just to keep things close as both squads jockey for a twice-to-beat edge in the race-to-three series for a Finals slot.
Tim Cone did the adjustments in the previous game and his Gin Kings came out to tear the Batang Pier to shreds, dictating the pace early and then coming up with a finishing kick for a 133-88 win that could definitely take a lot of the confidence out on the enemy.
“I thought we played with a lot of intensity,” Cone said after the second game, which Ginebra came into as the underdogs after taking a 124-80 defeat. “We just didn’t have the playoff intensity in the first game. They had it.”
It was an entirely different scenario in Game 2 as the Batang Pier were the ones who came out limp, showing some signs of fatigue and playing with a lot less energy compared to their series-opening win.
Christian Standhardinger, for one, was good for just 10 points and import Michael Qualls finished with just 20 after exploding for 38 in Game 1.
The NorthPort import readily accepted the blame.
“The team depends on me to score and I have to score to put us in a better situation,” Qualls told reporters after being held to just three points in the first half on Monday. “I started off slow.”
“I just have to be better for the team,” he added. “We’ll just take it home and be ready for the next one.”
Man-for-man, Ginebra has the edge, but NorthPort has the tools to keep this series close, and maybe even score an upset. But the Batang Pier would need to be close to perfect each night to do that—like how they were in Game 1.
Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio took a lot of the scoring load off of Justin Brownlee’s shoulders as six Ginebra players finished in twin digits.
That was a testament to how befuddled the NorthPort defense was that night and coach Pido Jarencio would have to find ways to not have a repeat of that and give his gritty Batang Pier a chance. INQ
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