Barangay Ginebra San Miguel hopes to duplicate its classic Game 2 performance as it shoots for a 2-1 finals lead in Game 3 against San Miguel Beer in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at 7 p.m. tonight, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings are coming off a tough 124-118 overtime win over the defending champions Beermen last Sunday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City, and the victory gave them the confidence they needed after absorbing an 82-109 beating in Game 1.
“Game 2 just proved to us that we can compete against San Miguel Beer – certainly not win the series – but that we can compete on a game to game basis,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
“It also showed us that we have to be at the very top of our game to just have a chance to beat them on any given night. That’s our challenge to be at our best,” he added.
Unlike in their humiliating loss in the series opener, the stars of Ginebra finally stepped up in Game 2 with Cone eliciting a solid offensive performance from rookie Kevin Ferrer.
The former University of Santo Tomas standout had 18 of his 21 points in the second period that helped the Gin Kings build a 65-39 cushion going to the break in Game 2.
Sophomore guard Scottie Thompson dished out an impressive all-around performance with 18 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists.
Joe Devance had 16 markers last Sunday including a crucial put back that sent the game in overtime.
San Miguel failed to check its emotions in Game 2 as streak shooter Marcio Lassiter was ejected late in the third quarter after incurring his second technical foul, the last one for taunting Gin Kings guard Sol Mercado.
Reigning Most Valuable Player June Fajardo had a foul-plagued 10-point performance in Game 2 and head coach Leo Austria knows they can’t afford to have another bad performance from the six-foot-10 center if they want to reclaim the series lead.
“We have to move on. We need to play our best in Game 3,” said Austria.