Never say die: Kings complete rally from 22 down after forcing Dyip to sputter
MANILA, Philippines–Driven to go deep and defend its PBA Governors’ Cup title, Barangay Ginebra put on the heat in the second half Sunday night as the Gin Kings climbed out of a 22-point hole to pull out a 112-107 victory over Terrafirma at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Scottie Thompson willed the Gin Kings back with 13 of his 20 points coming in the third period on the way to completing a fifth career triple-double as Ginebra rose to 5-4 and stayed on target for a seat in the upper half of the playoff draw with two games left in its schedule.
“Coming into this game, coach Tim [Cone] said that every game is different. Terrafirma beat us to it in the first half, but we showed our Never Say Die spirit in the next half,” Thompson, who also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists, said.
“And this is the first time seeing the Ginebra fans back here [live], so we really had to do better in the second half,” he added.
Justin Brownlee led all Ginebra scorers with 29 points and Christian Standhardinger chipped in 26, including a key floater that gave the Kings a bit of breathing room with 31 ticks remaining.
Magnolia bounced back from its first loss of the conference with a 104-87 mangling of powerhouse San Miguel Beer later in the night, as the Hotshots neared No. 1 ranking after improving to 7-1.
Mike Harris and Paul Lee scored 26 points each, forming a two-sided battering ram that doomed the Beermen to their fourth loss in nine games despite parading a new import.
Shabazz Muhammad debuted with 27 points and 17 rebounds but had eight of the Beermen’s 17 turnovers.
“We know our situation, no doubt about it,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone, wary of another loss’ impact on his team’s title-retention bid.
“But it’s not something we focus on and talk about. We’re really concerned about our process, how we’re going play, the effort level we’re gonna play in—those are the things that we’re really worried about,” he went on.
A loss would’ve pushed the crowd darlings to seventh place, tied with a struggling but still dangerous Phoenix Super LPG. And the ramifications don’t end there. Sliding that deep in the elimination round would mean Ginebra would be having a twice-to-win disadvantage.
“You can’t put that extra pressure on yourself. It’s like playing a Game 6 when you’re down 3-2. You know, you can’t worry about being down three games to two. You just take that pressure away and focus on that game without pressure. And whatever happens, happens after that,” said Cone.