Cone warns Ginebra not to get carried away, says Meralco labored through an off night
Ginebra coach Tim Cone points out Meralco, the top three-point shooting team this conference, was unusually spotty from long range in Game One. Jerome Ascano

LUCENA – Tim Cone is not about to make a big deal out of Barangay Ginebra’s wire-to-wire win over Meralco in Game One of the PBA Governors Cup finals on Friday night.

Cone reminded everyone who cared to listen just how things turned out during the title series of this same conference last year.

“Last time we played Meralco last year, they won Game 1 and we ended up winning the championship. That’s a cautionary tale for us,” said Cone outside the team's dugout at the Quezon Convention Center following the Kings’ runaway 102-87 victory in the opener of the best-of-seven series.

“You take everything after Game 1 with a real grain of salt,” he added. “This is not representative of anything as the series goes on.”

Besides, the two-time grand slam champion mentor believes the Bolts didn’t play to their potential as the top-seeded team heading into the playoffs.

Cone noted how Meralco struggled with their outside shots especially from three-point range, where the Bolts actually ranked as the No. 1 shooting team. Meralco finished shooting just 24 percent from downtown on 8-of-34 shooting.

“They looked a little rusty. They didn’t look real sharp. They’re coming off a four-game winning streak and a sweep of a series (against Star),” stressed the Ginebra coach.

“We just got them on a night where they may not be totally prepared.”

But he’s not taking away the credit from the Kings, the reigning conference champions who  sustained a hot start and dominated the Bolts in just about every department, rebounding included, 60-40.

“We played well tonight. I thought we controlled the game pretty much from start to finish,” said Cone, who is appearing in his 31st Finals stint.

Game Two is set on Sunday and Cone definitely wanted to take advantage of whatever momentum the Kings had from winning the series opener.

“The key for us right now is to be as fresh as we can. It will take a lot of both teams going to Game Two, and they’re gonna have that emotion coming off a loss. We got to find a way to battle that emotion coming from this long trip,” added Cone before joining the King on the team bus heading back to Manila.

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