Ginebra Kings seek 2-0 semifinals lead

In Photo: San Miguel Beer’s Arwind Santos and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee fight for the loose ball during their semifinals game on Monday night. The Kings won, 115-108.

BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel shoots for a commanding 2-0 lead against defending champion San Miguel Beer in Game Two of their best-of-five semifinal series in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Kings will try to follow up their 115-108 victory in Game One, when they clash with the Beermen anew at 7 p.m.

“It was a good win for us.  It obviously didn’t win the series. Game Two is a big deal,” said Ginebra Head Coach Tim Cone, who holds a 12-5 win-loss record when winning Game One of a best-of-five affair.

Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar played solidly for the Kings with 39 and 22 points, respectively, to fill up for point guard LA Tenorio, who was scoreless in the game.

The Ginebra frontline duo also got some help from Sol Mercado (19 points), Joe Devance (12 points) and rookie Scottie Thompson, who had another all-around game with 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

“We just haven’t been here in this situation for a while. We didn’t really know how hard we have to play in a big game like this with a tough opponent like San Miguel. Our guys raised their game,” Cone added.

Elijah Millsap (29 points), June Mar Fajardo (25) and Alex Cabagnot (20) had a solid offensive game for the Beermen, but they just couldn’t stop the Ginebra onslaught in the final period.

Head Coach Leo Austria admitted fatigue took the toll on his men and he failed to rotate his players properly in Game One.

“We have to include some players in the rotation because we used only eight players. It will be a different situation next game,” Austria said. “It’s my fault and I have to get some players to be included in the rotation.”

Millsap, Fajardo and Arwind Santos played at least 40 minutes each in Game One while San Miguel’s Asian reinforcement, Mahmoud Abdeen, was not even fielded.

The Ginebra bench also outscored its counterpart, 39-5, and Austria needs to draw some support from his second unit in Game Two.

Curiously, Austria holds a 0-3 record when losing Game One of a best-of-five series, while the Kings are 4-0 when winning a best-of-five series opener.

Image credits: Nonoy Lacza


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