SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Tim Cone offered no excuses for Barangay Ginebra’s second- half collapse that paved the way for Meralco to claim Game 2 and level their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at 1-1.
“The only thing I got to say is that they beat us black and blue,” said a forlorn Cone after the 77-95 loss on Friday night at the Angeles University Foundation gym. “They attacked the rim all night and we didn’t have an answer for it defensively.”
The Kings dominated the game until early in the third period when they opened the second half by scoring five straight points to take their biggest lead of the match at 55-42 with 9:06 to go in the quarter.
Then suddenly, they began missing their shots and the Bolts began hitting theirs.
Behind Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi, Meralco went on a 23-6 tear the rest of the third to overhaul the Kings’ 13-point spread and take the upperhand, 65-61, heading into the final quarter.
The Bolts didn’t let up from there on, extending the lead to up to 21, 91-70, on the way to knotting the best-of-five series at one game apiece.
“We lived up to our shooting in the first half, and our shooting dried up in the second half,” admitted Cone.
The Gin Kings went a woeful 8-for-34 in the second half for a 23.5 percent clip. No one struggled more than Stanley Pringle, who scored nine points but went just 4-of-16 from the field — including 0-of-6 in the second half.
“And we couldn’t respond by making shots,” added the Ginebra coach. “So it was really well done by coach Norman. He got us tonight.”
Now the series is down to a best-of-three with Game 3 set on Sunday.
“We’ll see if we could recover, recoup, and get back going on Game 3 Sunday,” said Cone as he hurriedly left the venue afterwards.