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PBA: Cone wants Ginebra to prepare for best version of Meralco in Game 2

Japeth Aguilar and Barangay Ginebra go for a 2-0 series lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup finals. PBA Media Bureau

After pocketing Game 1, Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone was quick to put that victory inside a box, lock it and throw away the key.

Heading into the next game, he just wants his team to move on.

The defending champions try to go up 2-0 in the PBA Governors’ Cup finals when they take on Meralco at Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. Game time is at 6:30 p.m.

It’s common for coaches, such as Cone, not to put a lot of stock in opening-game results in a long series such as a best-of-7. 

“You take everything after Game 1 with a grain of salt. This is not representative of anything as the series goes on,” Cone said in a report posted on the PBA website following the Kings’ dominant 102-87 against Meralco.

“We played a very solid if unspectacular Game 1, but we know we caught Meralco on a cold shooting night.”

“We also know that how we played in Game 1 won’t be good enough to beat them in Game 2,” added Cone, whose squad committed more turnovers 19-12.

Since Meralco lost convincingly, Cone anticipates a stronger and more intense opponent in Game 2.

“The key for us now is to be as fresh as we can. They’re gonna have that emotion coming off a loss. We’ve got to find a way to battle that emotion,” he said.

Justin Brownlee was untouchable on offense, scoring 32 points on 20 shots to go with 19 rebounds in nearly 45 minutes.

On defense, the Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar took turns frustrating Meralco’s relatively diminutive frontline.

Ginebra outrebounded Meralco 59-40 and scored more inside the paint, 54-44. 

“We got outplayed,” coach Meralco coach Norman Black said, although part of the Bolts’ miseries was their inability to score.

Starters Chris Newsome and Jared Dillinger were a combined 5 of 21 from the floor, with Dillinger missing all but 1 of his 9 3-point attempts.

Ranidel de Ocampo, brought in to bring veteran poise to the squad, missed all 4 3-point tries en route to 4-of-12 shooting night.

Black said the team must be ready to adapt on offense when the long ball isn’t working.

“We have to make sure that we get good looks with the basket,” said Black, who should be inspired by the result of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals last year.

Before losing the series to Ginebra, the Bolts took Game 1, even going up 2-1 in the 2016 finals.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)

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