Brgy. Ginebra refused to call it a conference and turned back Meralco, 94-87, in Game 2 to force a winner-take-all match in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
The Gin Kings squandered a 12-point lead but regrouped just in time to pull off the victory in the must-win game against the Bolts who are aching to finally put one over the crowd darlings after six failed attempts in the playoffs.
Japeth Aguilar paced the Tim Cone-mentored squad with 25 points on 8-of-14 field goal shooting to go with 8 boards and 5 blocks in 36 minutes of action.
“This game wasn’t for boys today. This is a man’s game today. It was physical, it was rough-and-tumble,” said Cone during the post-game press conference.
And with just one day to rest and recover, the league’s winningest mentor admits stamina will be a major factor going into Game 3.
“That’s gonna be the issue for us, I think more than it is for them. We had to spend an awful lot of energy. We played a very short rotation, and our guys played some really, really heavy minutes,” explained Cone.
“Now we hand them off to the trainers and the physical therapist and they gotta do their jobs to get our guys ready for Sunday. The coaching staff, we’ll put our heads together and see if there are things we want to change.”
Christian Standhardinger came 3 assists short of a triple-double as the 33-year old Fil-German scored 15, hauled down 12 boards, issued 7 assists and stole the ball once in almost 41 minutes of play.
LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson chipped in 13 and 11 markers, respectively with the latter adding 6 boards, 9 assists and 2 steals to his tally. Stanley Pringle added 9 points including 5 straight in the closing minute to seal the deal for the 2020 Philippine Cup champs. Jeff Chan dropped 8 points – all within a 2-minute period to end the first half.
The winner-take-all Game 3 is scheduled on Sunday, July 31, 6:30pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Brgy. Ginebra 94 – J.Aguilar 25, Standhardinger 15, Tenorio 13, Thompson 11, Pringle 9, Chan 8, Pinto 7, Caperal 4, Mariano 2.
Meralco 87 – Hodge 25, Maliksi 14, Pasaol 14, Black 9, Newsome 8, Pascual 3, Banchero 2, Quinto 2.
Quarterscores: 25-25, 56-45, 69-71, 94-87.