By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
WHILE they are ahead, 2-1, in their best-of-five PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings know that their job is not done and have to deal with a Meralco Bolts crew they expect will put up a tougher stand in their next game.
The Kings reclaimed the series lead on Sunday after taking Game Three, 91-84, putting them on the brink of another finals appearance in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Barangay Ginebra came out with more bounce and consistency in their attack than in Game Two, where they were outlasted by Meralco.
It was a balanced thrust for the Kings, led by Stanley Pringle, who finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Big man Prince Caperal had 15 points for Barangay Ginebra, with LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar having 12 each. Joe Devance was the other Kings in double digits with 10 points.
The Kings led, 27-12, at the end of the first quarter and never relinquished the driver’s seat after.
A win away from the finals, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said that while they welcome where they are right now, they are not getting ahead of themselves, believing Meralco still has a lot of fight in it and cannot be easily discounted.
“It’s a ping-pong match. You have good teams playing. It’s not easy to roll over Meralco, They’re going to come back,” said Mr. Cone following their Game Three victory.
“[Meralco coach] Norman [Black] is one of the best coaches in the PBA. He has been through many battles on the court. They have a young developing core, which would only get better,” he added.
The most winning PBA coach went on to say that given what they expect to be a tougher fight from Meralco as it tries to keep its season alive, it is a good thing that there is a gap of two days before they return to the court.
Mr. Cone said they would use it to rest and prepare a battle plan against what the Bolts would bring.
“It takes a lot to win games. There are no easy adjustments. No easy process, but we get two days off and we will use it to build a good force to beat what we know will be a great force in the next game.”
Game Four of the semifinal series between Barangay Ginebra will be played on Nov. 25 at 3:45 p.m. at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.