OTHER than playing well in Game One of the PBA Governors Cup finals, Barangay Ginebra also got credit from coach Tim Cone for showing grace under pressure at the height of a big Meralco run in the second half.
Cone noted how the Kings never lost their discipline and kept their composure to survive a gritty Bolts comeback and hack out a 102-87 win Friday night at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.
The Kings led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter (40-23), but found the Bolts holding on their coattails late in the third period as Allen Durham, Cliff Hodge, Garvo Laneta, and rookie Mike Tolomia got them back and move within four, 75-71.
But instead of imploding, the reigning champions played it calm and got their acts together behind an 8-1 run starting the payoff period that suddenly propelled the King back to an 85-72 lead.
Meralco sued for timeout, but appeared to have no more fight left.
“We didn’t go into a panic mode,” said Cone afterwards. “Our guys did a good job settling and getting the ball back inside.”
That the Kings anticipated the Bolts to come out with more fire in the second half help them prepare for the inevitable.
“We expected them to make a run,” admitted the 59-year-old champion coach. “We thought that they will put more pressure on us, up-tempoing the game a little bit more. So when you expect things like that, you don’t go into panic.”
Cone sees a better Meralco coming into Game Two of the best-of-seven series set Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
And anticipating it, don’t look for Ginebra to lose its composure either.