IT will be a long, excruciating battle.
That’s how Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone sees the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven title showdown against Talk N Text at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Sports Center in Pampanga.
“If we’re going to have six more of these games, I don’t think my heart can take it,” said Cone after Ginebra escaped with a tensely-fought 100-94 win over Talk N Text in overtime in Game 1 last Sunday.
Ginebra’s dramatic, come-from-behind victory over Talk N Text came only two days after the Gin Kings rode on Scottie Thompson’s game-winner with time running out to eliminate Meralco in their semifinal encounter.
Now, Cone told his players to brace for similar hard-fought games in the coming days.
“As I’ve said, no one person is going to beat Talk N Text. It’s gotta be as a team. Everybody should step up and play exactly the way we did tonight against that team,” said Cone, who is hoping to win his first All-Filipino title with Ginebra and fourth overall since joining the team in 2015.
Cone was particularly impressed with the performance of veteran LA Tenorio.
Tenorio took over with the game on the line.
His perfect pass to rookie Arvin Tolentino with five seconds left enabled them to send the game into overtime at 92-all.
Tenorio also found Japeth Aguilar and Aljon Mariano for the much-needed baskets to keep the Tropang Giga at bay.
“In LA we trust. He’s been around us for so long and he’s used to that kind of situation. So we started putting the ball in LA’s hands and let him make the decisions,” Cone told sportswriters during post-game interviews..
Talk N Text mentor Bong Ravena admitted poor defense led to their collapse.
Ravena said the Tropang Giga failed to execute their defensive plan and allowed five Gin Kings to score in double figures.
“The whole game we’ve been struggling especially on our defense,” said Ravena, noting the Tropang Giga were completely outrebounded by the Gin Kings, 41-60.
“We really have to stick to the game plan, espcecially on defense and do the little things like boxing out,” added Ravena. “Hopefully it will be a different ball game on Wednesday.”
Adding to the Tropang Giga’s woes was the foul trouble of “Best Player of the Conference frontrunner Bobby Ray Parks.
Parks fouled out with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Game 2 is scheduled on Wednesday, and both Cone and Ravena welcomed the two-day break following a pair of gruelling semifinal series against Meralco and Phoenix, respectively.
(AUF Sports Center)
6 p.m. – Barangay Ginebra vs. Talk N Text