UNLIKE the first game, TNT KaTropa’s import Joshua Smith didn’t exactly impose his will on the Ginebra frontline.
Not that he had to, as the KaTropa still came away with the victory after outlasting Ginebra, 107-103, to take a 2-0 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
The hulking Smith had a relatively quiet game where he finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds – a far cry from his 35-point outing in the semis opener.
However, he still had his handprints all over the victory as he drained a crusial putback off a Jayson Castro miss to give TNT a four-point lead with just eight seconds left to play.
“Today was a hard-fought game. Obviously, we got the win and that’s the most important thing. It’s two hard teams playing. I’m just happy we got the win,” said Smith.
With Ginebra adjusting well to Smith, sending quick doubles and denying him of his touches, the former UCLA and Georgetown slotman was happy to see his teammates step up and make Ginebra pay for their defensive gambles.
It was Semerad who made the Gin Kings pay the most, draining four threes in the final five minutes as Ginebra continued to sag off him to focus on blocking out Smith.
That’s why Smith is confident that they can go places, despite getting limited touches.
“They can make any adjustments they want. If they take me away, there are other people on my team which showed up today,” said Smith who also had three blocks while making five of his nine shots in the game.
“Anthony (Semerad) had one hell of a fourth quarter, Kris (Rosales) gave us some good minutes. We’re a team. You take one person away, someone else steps up,” he added.
Now Smith looks forward to Game Three as they look to finish off Ginebra and become the first team to make the finals for the conference.
“I’m excited. That’s why I came here. I came here to win, I came here to compete and so far we’ve been doing that. It’s gonna be another hard fought game come Thursday, we have to prepare tomorrow but yeah, we’re one step away,” he said.