Cone braces for another war of attrition as Ginebra looks to even semis series vs Star
Ginebra held Star to its lowest output in a game in nine years in Game 3. Jaime Campos

EXPECT another ugly, nip-and-tuck battle as Barangay Ginebra seeks to knot its PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Star in Game Four on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

After dropping the first two games, the Gin Kings pulled a game back with a 73-62 win in Game Three - the lowest-scoring game over the last eight conferences, or since San Mig Coffee, then handled by Tim Cone, edged Alaska, 70-65, in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.

The Gin Kings held the Hotshots to a paltry 29-percent shooting on the way to their lowest output in nearly nine years, or since the 2008 Fiesta Conference when they suffered an 88-60 beating at the hands of an Alaska side then also coached by Cone.

Now with the Gin Kings, Cone, the master of the triangle offense, continues to show he’s a defense-first tactician in Game Four that’s tipping off at 7 p.m.

“Game Four is the key,” Cone said of the eve of the matchup. “We know it’s going to be another great defensive battle and we’ll have to find a way to grind it out.

“Our players have shown great resilience all-conference long so we like our chances,” he added.

[See Marc Pingris hopeful he won't have to carry load for misfiring Star in Game Four]

Apart from Sol Mercado, Japeth Aguilar also delivered some of the biggest baskets down the stretch in Game Three that prevented the Gin Kings from falling into a deep 3-0 hole.

“Nasa kamay pa rin namin,” Aguilar said. “But we still have to keep our focus, keep moving the ball, and keep playing good defense.”

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