Tim Cone remains wary of fine-hit Bay Area as Ginebra seeks 3-1 lead | Inquirer Sports
SEETHING DRAGONS

Tim Cone remains wary of fine-hit Bay Area as Ginebra seeks 3-1 lead

/ 05:15 AM January 06, 2023

Bay Area import Andrew Nicholson. –PBA IMAGES

Bay Area import Andrew Nicholson. –PBA IMAGES

Coach Tim Cone refused to believe, at least publicly, that momentum has swung in favor of Barangay Ginebra going into the all-important fourth game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Finals against a Bay Area team whose composure will be put under scrutiny on Friday.

“You don’t get momentum from winning one game,” Cone said as the Gin Kings try to put a stranglehold on the series with a 3-1 advantage going into the 5:45 p.m. affair at Mall of Asia Arena.

Ginebra, buoyed by the support of the crowd, stole Game 3 two nights ago when it erased Bay Area’s seven-point lead in the final four minutes and claimed an 89-82 victory to regain control of the best-of-seven affair.

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The stinging defeat left the Dragons disappointed and upset, prompting two of their players to lash out at officiating through separate social media posts.

“It’s cooked,” said Hayden Blankley in a since-deleted Instagram story when he concluded his remarks calling for a “fair game.”

He and reserve import Myles Powell were eventually slapped with a combined fine of P175,000 (P100,000 for Powell and P75,000 for Blankley) after meeting PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on Thursday.

But coach Brian Goorjian, who was not summoned by Marcial despite earlier reports stating otherwise, and the Dragons still have the opportunity to turn things around and once again put the series back to square one with a victory.

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Careful approach

That’s why Cone is keeping a careful approach, even with numbers favoring Ginebra.

Fifty of the 78 teams that won Game 3 after a 1-1 tie in a Finals series have gone on to capture the championship.

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But recent history shows that seven of the 13 teams in a similar scenario since the 2014-15 season have gone on to lose the title.

“You get momentum from winning two or three [games], but one game is not momentum,” Cone said.

“In fact, now it’s their turn. Basically we’ve been saying that. It was our turn in Game 1, their turn in Game 2, and now it was our turn to respond in Game 3. Now it’s their turn to respond in Game 4,” added Cone.One question relating to adjustments was answered amid the controversy surrounding Powell and Blankley’s comments.

Andrew Nicholson will remain Bay Area’s import despite hurting his left ankle late in Game 3. The Dragons have the option of bringing back Powell one more time in the event the 6-foot-10 ex-National Basketball Association player goes down with an injury.

Improve shooting

But whether Nicholson can muster enough strength to play close to usual form won’t be answered until the ball is tipped.

Cone and the Gin Kings, meanwhile, hope to improve their shooting.

Ginebra shot 34-percent from the field in Game 3 and made just seven of 26 attempts from the three-point arc, contributing to its struggles catching up with Bay Area throughout.

It took a timely burst from Justin Brownlee, a pair of threes from LA Tenorio and Jamie Malonzo during the decisive turnaround and Scottie Thompson’s all-around effort to snatch victory away from Bay Area.

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“We gotta get better than that. We gotta do better than that. What we did, at the end of that halftime, and what we did in maybe the last five or six minutes of the game was really live off our defense,” Cone said.

TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, Bay Area Dragons, Philippine Basketball Association, Tim Cone

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