Upbeat after scoring a 114-109 overtime win on Friday, Meralco seeks to stretch its lead to 2-0 when it battles Barangay Ginebra at 5:30 p.m. today, in Game 2 of the best-of-seven finals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governor’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
“We will just focus all our energy on winning Game 2,” Meralco coach Norman Black told The Manila Times via text message. “We know that Ginebra will come out strong so we have to be prepared. Our focus will be on playing better in Game 2 than in Game 1 and also try to slow down (LA) Tenorio.”
Tenorio notched a career-high 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting in the field to lead Ginebra in Game 1.
Import Allen Durham, who finished with 46 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in the best-of-seven opener, expects a rough fight from the Gin Kings.
“They (Ginebra) are a great team and they’re here for a reason so we have to focus on the entire 48 minutes. We’ll go back to the drawing board. I guess I’m just filling out tonight and just doing what I need to do. We’ll be ready on Sunday because they will give their best shot,” he said.
The previous game was also memorable for playmaker Jimmy Alapag, who equaled Allan Caidic’s 1, 242 all-time high three-point shot record. “To be honest it is secondary right now because we’re in the middle of fight against Ginebra. It’s a pleasure to tie Allan’s record. That’s a championship caliber team over there so we have to find a way to keep better because I know they will also be there,” said Alapag.
Durham and Alapag will be supported by Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, Reynel Hugnatan, guard Jonathan Uyloan, forward Cliff Hodge and Bryan Faundo in Game 2.
“I will just find a way to contribute in any way I can,” said Newsome, who had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Game 1. “There will be a lot of adjustments in Game 2. Coach Tim is a smart guy. But I’m sure coach Norman will also find another way to win.”
“It’s still a must win so we have to match their intensity in both half and stick to the plan,” said Hodge.
An explosive game is expected of Ginebra in Game 2.
“I expect to win but we got to be better in defense. We got to find a way to slow them down especially Allen (Durham),” Ginebra import Justin Brownlee told The Times.
“We’re certainly disappointed with our play in Game 1, especially in that fourth quarter and overtime, but we’re not discouraged,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said via text message.
“It seemed the five-game series with San Miguel Beer took a toll on us and we just wore down as the game progressed. We feel we have a lot more to show in Game 2. Needless to say, however, we need to find an answer to Durham. He was just too dominant for us to overcome.”