FIRMLY secured in the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup and riding a seven-game winning streak, one could not be blamed for taking it easy. But not the streaking Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, who are now more determined to take on the work to go deeper in the tournament.
Beating the Meralco Bolts, 104-90, in Game Two of their best-of-three quarterfinal series, the Kings completed a sweep of their quarters assignment to advance to the next round of the midseason PBA tournament while extending their tournament winning streak to seven games.
While happy that they are playing extremely well of late, Kings coach Tim Cone said they have to remain guarded for the win streak is “both a blessing and a curse” which could bite them if they do not handle it correctly moving forward.
“Coming into the semifinals with a seven-game winning streak, it’s a blessing and it’s a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because you got some momentum and you are playing well. [It’s] a curse because at some point, you’re gonna come off the mountain,” the multi-titled PBA coach said during the postgame press conference following their Game Two victory.
Mr. Cone further underscored that since they are winning now, the more it is a must for them to keep on pushing to stay on top of their game.
“The more you win, you tend to lose focus. When you are losing and try to get out of a losing streak, that is when you are razor-sharp. When you are winning for quite a while, the focus kinda dissipates. I’m hoping it doesn’t happen to us. When it does, that’s the time you begin to tumble off the mountain which can be tough to recover from,” he said.
In completing the sweep of Meralco, Barangay Ginebra got another solid performance from import Justin Brownlee, who finished with all-around numbers of 36 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three steals and a block.
Greg Slaughter had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds while LA Tenorio had 11 points, including a crucial three-pointer in the closing minutes of the game that stopped a spirited run back by the Bolts.
As of this writing, the Kings are awaiting the winner of the do-or-die match between top seeds Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and eight-seeded team GlobalPort Batang Pier, whom they will face in a best-of-five semifinal series. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo