IF there’s a perfect time for Barangay Ginebra to flaunt its vaunted never-say-die spirit, it should be now.
The Kings found their backs pushed further against the wall after absorbing a 91-89 loss against the Star Hotshots Saturday night and fell to a 0-2 deficit in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game Three is set Monday, with the league’s most popular ballclub in dire need of a breakthrough win in the best-of-seven series and avoid falling behind by three games against the streaking Hotshots.
Veteran JayJay Helterbrand was quick to rally the Kings, who just a few days ago completed a stunning feat by negating the twice-to-bead advantage of no. 2 seed Alaska to advance deep into the playoffs.
“It’s not over. We’re down two games, it takes four to win. We’re not gonna give up. We’ll keep on trying,” said Helterbrand, 40, who was gracious enough to grant a quick interview even after the loss.
“We always do it the hard way. We’ve been doing it the hard way the whole conference.”
The one-time league MVP noted that while Star is up in the series, the Hotshots are not totally dominating the Kings.
“We match-up really well with them. They’re not doing anything special that any other team has done against us,” he stressed. “We’re just a rebound away, a shot way from winning it.”
Helterbrand was the spark to Ginebra’s championship run in the recent Governors Cup, whose heroics in Game Four of the Finals against Meralco helped turn around a series controlled by the Bolts in the first three games.
He hopes the Kings would be able to do it again this time by playing with a lot of urgency from here on.
“We should have this sense of urgency (starting) in Game One. That’s the mentality that you gotta have. This is the playoffs,” Helterbrand said.
“You can’t go out there and relax, thinking there’s a Game Three or a Game Four, whatever. Every game should be a do-or-die game.”