Mar 10, 2018

Tim Cone calls on Ginebra diehards for support in Game 2

San Miguel Beer is determined to sustain the fire of its dominant Game One win and put more pressure on the badly undermanned, weary Barangay Ginebra team at the resumption of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.

The Beermen and the Kings slug it out at 6:30 p.m. with the former going for a follow-up to their 102-90 win Friday for a two-game series lead before Ginebra coach Tim Cone can find a way to spark a turnaround for his beleaguered team.

Feeling the heat, Cone has called on the Ginebra diehards to help provide boost to the team.

With Greg Slaughter still a doubtful starter with a bad ankle sprain and the rest of the team with tired legs, Cone said: "We need our sixth man, our fans, to supply us some much-needed energy."

"Hopefully, with their support, we'll be able to catch our breath for a moment and put a better performance together," Cone added.

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The two-time grand slam champion coach admits they would need to do a lot better than what they did the last time to be able to compete with San Miguel and its tremendous firepower.

"SMB hit shots all night and we didn't do a good job enough of contesting and making them more difficult. We did a good job on (June Mar) Fajardo, but we need to find a better balance of taking care of their other stars," Cone said.

With Slaughter helpless behind the Ginebra bench, the Gin Kings constantly threw a double-teaming defense on Fajardo but left the Beermen outside gunners open most of the time.

And the Beermen made the Kings to pay for it by firing away 16-of-34 three-pointers. Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and Von Pessumal knocked in at least four treys each.
The bad news for the Kings is that they may not get help from Slaughter so soon.

On Friday, the 7-foot-1 Ginebra behemoth showed up at the Big Dome still with a badly swollen ankle.
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"It's very frustrating but I try not to let it get the best of me. Right now I need to heal and get my ankle okay so I can get back out there," he said. "No point in just moping around. I have to stay positive and try to get healthy again."

Mark Caguioa, who could provide spark and quality minutes, is also down with an ankle sprain. Worse, the Kings also lost Paolo Taha to a knee injury in a brief stint in Game One.

"We've got our problems, but that's the way it is. We're banged up and bruised. We're just going to play through it," said Cone.

The brilliant American coach, however, is not losing hope.

"We can play better than we did (in Game One). That's for sure - with or without Greg," he said.(SB)