ANTIPOLO CITY – Tim Cone admitted Barangay Ginebra paid the price of playing Magnolia’s game.
After a sizzling first quarter, the Kings fell prey against the Hotshots’ speed and pressure to lose Saturday night, 106-98, in the opener of their PBA Governors Cup semifinals series at the Ynares Center.
The Kings led 39-31 in the opening period, but was outscored by the Hotshots the rest of the second half, 32-16, and found themselves trailing by eight at the break.
The reigning champion then played catch-up the rest of the way, their huge fourth quarter rally fizzling out as Romeo Travis and Paul Lee converted clutch baskets one after the other.
Cone said the Kings just lost focus following that fast start that saw import Justin Brownlee fire 20 points in the opening 12 minutes.
“We came out with a good force, started the game well, then we started to succumb to their pressure as the game progress,” said Cone at the end of Game One.
“They played the game they wanted to play. We played their game, so we got to be better,” added Cone.
Brownlee cooled down in the second and third quarters before leading a fiery Ginebra comeback by scoring 11 in the final quarter that just fell short.
The Ginebra import added 14 rebounds and had eight assists, but shot 12-of-28 from the field.
Japeth Aguilar added 18 points, while Greg Slaughter was held to only eight as Magnolia rotated three defenders on him in Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis, and Kyle Pascual.
“I didn’t think our big guys were totally engaged in the game today,” said Cone. “And they need to get better engaged, and that goes for everybody.”