The Star Hotshots brace for a tougher challenge from crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings as they collide in Game 2 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.
Game time begins at 5 p.m.
Coming off a 78-74 escape in Game 1, Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said they must be ready for Ginebra’s fight back in Game 2 both physically and mentally.
“We must be ready for a much tougher game. We expect them to come up strong in Game 2,” said Victolero. “We just have to be ready for their adjustments. We need to stay focused and prepare hard for our game tomorrow (today).”
Game 1 hero Paul Lee, who hit the dagger against the Gin Kings in the series opener with his late-game floater, echoed his coach’s observation and added they need to double their effort especially on the defensive end.
“It’s going to be a tough [Game 2]. We have to play good defense as well,” said Lee, who posted 19 points, including nine in the last canto, in Game 1. “Ginebra’s defense is tough and we must be ready. Which team plays good defense will win.”
Hotshots skipper Marc Pingris, who contributed nine points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks in Game 1, warns Kings head coach Tim Cone will make the necessary adjustments in Game 2 to tie the series.
“We know they will come back strong but we’re going to get Game 2 and we’re not going to allow them to tie the series,” said Pingris. “Every second, every point, every possession, every rebound, every steal and every block is important in this series.”
Ginebra’s starting point guard LA Tenorio, on the other hand, hopes their team will exert more effort in Game 2 to have a better chance of tying the series.
“We have to play smart. We have to exert more effort,” Tenorio said. “Coach said our season is not done yet. It’s a long series and we just have to keep our focus.”