Ginebra coach Tim Cone rues missing out on 3-1 cushion in PBA Finals
MANILA, Philippines–Coach Tim Cone was full of regret with Barangay Ginebra’s missed chance at putting the stranglehold on the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals after Bay Area pulled off a stunning Game 4 victory that evened the championship chase at two apiece.
The Gin Kings were odds-on favorites to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after the Dragons saw import Andrew Nicholson go down with an ankle injury, but lost a 12-point second quarter lead before losing 94-86 on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“It was disappointing,” Cone said in a text message sent to PBA beat reporters the day after the match. “We had a chance to really gain some traction on the series and put Bay Area on the brink.”
Bay Area rallied behind 30 points from Kobey Lam, steady plays from Glen Yang and Zhu Songwei, Hayden Blankley’s timely recovery from missing his first 11 shots and vital contributions from centers Duncan Reid and 7-foot-5 Liu Chuanxing.
Cone acknowledged that Ginebra may have taken the situation the Dragons endured lightly, and it came at a price.
“We’ve seen games like that before, when the import is out and you can catch a team sleeping,” Cone continued.
Game 5 is set on Sunday at the same venue, and the good news is that Cone and the Gin Kings can still make up for that collapse and move one win from claiming another championship.
“We have no excuses,” he said. “Like we said at the beginning, this is going to be a tough series. Nothing ever comes easy in the Finals.”