PBA: Cone says Ginebra ‘panicked’ late in Game 3 loss to Meralco
MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra squandered at seizing control of its PBA Governors’ Cup championship series with Meralco Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena—a botched job coach Tim Cone believes the Gin Kings’ undoing.
“We panicked down the stretch,” he told reporters with a long face on his way out of the bayside venue in Pasay City.
“We panicked down the stretch and we didn’t, obviously, hit shots. We were going for hero ball shots and [instead of] trying to get good shots,” he added.
Ginebra had a 48-40 advantage over their opponents by the halftime break. But faced with an unrelenting Meralco defense in the next two quarters, the Gin Kings sputtered, settling for their lowest scoring output in these playoffs.
“We got a little bit selfish. We weren’t moving the ball,” Cone rued.
LA Tenorio, the club’s skipper, echoed his mentor’s sentiments. Perplexed by what could’ve been a neat token to a PBA record 16,104 fans in attendance, he said he would go through the tape the soonest to figure out what went wrong for the defending champions.
“I don’t know what to tell you guys,” Tenorio said. “We really have to check the tape. Definitely, we were overeager towards the end. We hurried shots, forced shots. If we weren’t forcing our shots, we were taking them with the shot clock already winding down.”
“We really have to figure out what (Meralco) did to us,” he added.
Justin Brownlee, who again led the way for Ginebra with a do-it-all outing of 19 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and six blocks, also felt that the Gin Kings shot themselves in the foot with their latest performance.
“I felt like this one is more so on us, you know like I’ve said give a lot of credit to Meralco, but I really feel like tonight, we kind of beat ourselves, you know, not making free throws, we didn’t hit the shots that we normally make,” he said.
Perhaps the resident import said it best. The Gin Kings were truly laughable on the offensive end. They hit only four of their 32 tries from deep that night and were only 63 percent from the charity stripe compared to the Bolts’ staggering 92.9.
But nothing could’ve been more of an accurate illustration of their problems than their dry spell halfway through the final period.
Ginebra was held to just three points right after Meralco import Tony Bishop Jr.’s slam dunk that opened up things for the Bolts, 75-71 with 6:22 left to play.
“A lot of credit goes to Meralco, but I feel like this one is on us tonight,” Brownlee said.
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.