Tim Cone expects beleaguered Meralco to come out swinging in Game Three
“We beat them two in a row, but they can certainly come back and beat us two in a row and tie this thing up," says Ginebra coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra may have connected on a couple of killer blows that has left Meralco on the back foot, but don’t think for a second that this PBA Governors’ Cup Finals is over.

Gin Kings coach Tim Cone is bracing for an expected fightback by the Bolts in Game Three where the Gin Kings try to grab a third straight win and move on the verge of a successful title defense.

“I think they have a lot of punches left to throw at us,” Cone insisted after their 86-76 win in Game Two last Sunday night that followed up a 15-point rout in the series opener.

“We beat them two in a row, but they can certainly come back and beat us two in a row and tie this thing up, so we just can’t get too happy or pleased with yourself because there’s just so much more work left to do,” he added.

“But it’s always nice to get an early lead in the series, always nice to do that, but doesn’t guarantee you anything,” the league’s most successful coach continued.

Cone felt the long travel to and from Lucena, which hosted Game One, took its toll on both teams, with the Gin Kings only finding a little bit more energy to turn back the Bolts in Game Two.

“This is a real trying game because of the out-of-town experience that we had forth-eight hours ago,” Cone said. “The bus ride, we didn't get back to Manila until 3 o' clock in the morning. Guys weren't asleep ‘til 3:30 or 4.”

“So it was a real trying weekend for us and for them as well,” he added. “It just looked like at the end, we just had a little more than they did.”

And the two-day gap between Game Two and Three on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum only bodes well for both teams.


“I think that extra day in a series is really valuable to the teams because... they get a chance to refresh and they come out and play a lot better and a lot harder than if they have to continue to go back to back to back to back,” Cone said. “The extra day really means a lot so that Monday, tomorrow will be great for both teams.”

The break is exactly what the weary Bolts need, Cone feels.

“They're gonna come out full punches in Game Three,” the Ginebra coach said.

“I'm just glad Manny Pacquiao isn't on their team. That's the punch we probably couldn't take,” he added in jest.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos