By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
A WIN away from barging back to the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings are out to finish off the Northport Batang Pier in Game Four today of their best-of-five semifinal series.
Went up, 2-1, in their semis joust after their 132-105 victory in Game Three of the series on Wednesday, the Kings look to secure a spot in the finals of the season-ending PBA tournament when they resume play today at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
They, however, acknowledge that while having the upper hand helps, they still have to go out and get it as the Batang Pier would not just give the finals pass without a fight.
“On Friday it’s still going to be 50-50 but it’s nice to get a 2-1 lead. It’s going to be a new day and new game next time,” said the Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone after Game Three.
The Kings just blew the game wide open as early as the second quarter with the team clicking from all cylinders, something undermanned Northport could not keep in step with.
Import Justin Brownlee led five Kings in double digits with 41 points, peppering it with 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks.
Japeth Aguilar had 18 points and 10 rebounds with Jeff Chan adding 17 markers, going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Stanley Pringle had 14 points and LA Tenorio 11.
Mr. Cone said their depth showed in said game, something that worked to their advantage over the Batang Pier, who played sans Sol Mercado, Bradwyn Guinto and Kevin Ferrer because of injuries.
“We really weighed them with our depth. Our depth came to the front,” said Mr. Cone, whose team is seeking a third Governors’ Cup title in the last four years.
Trailing in the series and having to play sans key personnel, the Batang Pier know that the odds are against them entering Game Four but reiterated that should not them from going all out and extending their campaign.
“We are playing a good team. We caught them on a bad foot in the first game but for us to win against them we really have to play well and they play really bad. All we can do right now is to play all out. It is tough on us right now but that should not let us down but instead motivate us. Now is not the time to hang our heads,” said Northport big man Christian Standhardinger, who finished Game Three with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Import Michael Qualls paced the Batang Pier in the last game with 32 points and 10 boards.