Aiming for cushion

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Thursday, January 30, 2014


MANILA—It’s now San Mig Coffee’s turn to seek for a 2-0 lead when it battles top seed Ginebra San Miguel in today’s Game 2 of their best-of-seven semifinal series of the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Tim Cone said their 85-83 win in Game 1 last Tuesday enabled them to dictate the series and set the tone going into today’s Game 2 set at 8 p.m.

The winner between San Mig Coffee and Ginebra will face the victor between the other semifinals pairing of Petron Blaze and Rain or Shine in a best-of-seven finals series.

The Elasto Painters are currently pacing the series with a 2-0 lead.

“It’s a long series. There's no feeling of comfort leading 1-0, but it does give us an opportunity to dictate the series now. It takes the pressure out of your team. It sets the tone for what you want to do,” said Cone, the most winningest coach in the league with 15 championships.

Cone is expected to once more utilize rookie Justin Melton along with Mark Barroca, who played most of the fourth period instead of veterans James Yap and Peter June Simon.

“Justin Melton and Mark Barroca played good defensively the last time. They were playing so well in Game 1. They were really the key down-the-stretch," said Cone, who is aiming for the Mixers' 11th title and his third since leaving Alaska in 2011.

Earlier, Cone acknowledged the Kings’ strength, saying it’s always tough playing the most popular team in the league and a team hungry to end a six-year title drought.

Ginebra won a crown for the last time in the 2008 Fiesta Cup.

“We want to establish ourselves in the series knowing that Ginebra is the top seed and we are the fifth seeds after the elimination round,” stressed Cone.

Ginebra, which is boosted with having twin towers 7-foot Greg Slaughter and 6’9” Japeth Aguilar is expected to make adjustments to level the long series and keep its hope of securing its 9th title since joining the league in 1979.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 31, 2014.

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