Brgy. Ginebra’s old reliables took charge at the crunch, enabling the Kings to beat the Meralco Bolts, 94-87, Friday and send their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals duel into a deciding game.
Before a good-sized crowd in the league’s return to the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan during the pandemic era, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle and Japeth Aguilar took turns coming up with the brilliant plays that kept Meralco at bay.
Following the end of the highly-physical match, the Kings negated the Bolts’ 93-82 win in the best-of-three series opener last Sunday and set up a you-or-me matchup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena with the winner advancing to the semifinals against early qualifier San Miguel Beer.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone later said his charges must dig deep within themselves anew to be able to do a quick turnaround and gear up for another draining encounter in the knockout match.
“We got to put up another performance like we did today,” Cone said. “They’re trying to do something they haven’t done against us and we know that and we have so much respect for them. They’re showing their desire with the way they’re coming out to play physically, diving all over the floor. (Cliff) Hodge is throwing his body everywhere, just showing that great desire they have.
“We’re just trying to match it, match their physicality and for us to come out and play well in Game 3 we just have to continue to match their physicality. That’s really the name of the game in this series. It’s not a series for young men or boys. This is a series for men.”