CAN Barangay Ginebra and Talk N Text do it again and move closer to a highly-anticipated title showdown in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup?
Or can Meralco and Phoenix Super LPG fight back and even the best-of-five semifinal series at one game apiece?
“As important as it was to get Game 1, we have to forget it right now and get ready for Game 2. That’s our focus should be,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone on the eve of Friday’s pivotal Game 2 at the Angeles Universty Foundation (AUF) Sports Center in Pampanga.
“We have to worry about what’s in front of us, not what’s behind. So Game 2 is in front of us, that’s what our focus will be,” added Cone.
Ginebra, which took four days of rest before the start of the semifinal, pulled off a surprisingly easy 96-79 win over long-time rival Meralco in the opener last Wednesday.
Six players, led by Stanley Pringle, scored in double figures for the Gin Kings, who led by as many as 25 points and were never seriously threatened by the Bolts.
Pringle, now Ginebra’s go-to-guy, finished with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting in the Gin Kings’ dominant showing.
Scottie Thompson (13 points, nine rebounds, eight assists), Arvin Tolentino (13 points), Aljon Mariano (11), LA Tenorio (11) and Prince Caperal (10) also stepped up for Ginebra.
“Everything went right for us and everything went wrong for them in the last game. Meralco is a team on a mission. We interrupted that for one day but hopefully, we continue to interrupt it,” said Cone
“We’re going to need to come out mentally stronger,” said Cone.
Like Ginebra, Talk N Text is also hoping to keep its focus in the 3:45 p.m. match with Phoenix
Talk N Text coach Bong Ravena and the Tropang Giga know another victory and a 2-0 lead would push them within another win of a return to the finals of the import-less tournament which they last won in 2013.
But Ravena reminded his boys to be ready.
“We have to be consistent on our defense because for sure, they’re going to come back anytime. Especially in Game 2, we have to be ready also because we know they’re going to come back,” said Ravena.
Ravena hopes to get another stellar games from veteran Jayson Castro and Ray Parks.
Castro scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and added six rebounds, six assists and two steals to help the Tropang Giga draw first blood.
(AUF Sports Center)
3:45 p.m. — Meralco vs. Ginebra
6:30 p.m. — Phoenix vs. Talk N Text