PBA Finals: Out-of-town games favor Kings – Meralco coach Norman Black

Published January 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jonas Terrado

Game Friday

(Quezon Convention Center, Lucena City)

7 p.m. — Meralco vs Ginebra

(Ginebra leads series 1-0)

The advantage is on Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as far as the Meralco Bolts are concerned as the series shifts to Lucena City Friday night for Game 2 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

Meralco's Allein Maliksi is down on the floor while protecting the ball from Ginebra's Justin Brownlee in Game 1 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals. The Gin Kings gain the upperhand against the Bolts going to Game 2 at Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City Friday night. (PBA Images)
Meralco’s Allein Maliksi is down on the floor while protecting the ball from Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee in Game 1 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. The Gin Kings gain the upperhand against the Bolts going to Game 2 at Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City Friday night. (PBA Images)

Buoyed by its gut-wrenching 91-87 win in the series opener Tuesday, Ginebra goes for a 2-0 lead in the 7 p.m. match set at the friendly confines of the Quezon Convention Center.

For Bolts coach Norman Black, being 160 kilometers away has given Ginebra the edge.

“That’s always an advantage for Ginebra,” said Black. “You go anywhere in the country and normally the fans will follow them.

Meralco coach Norman Black (PBA Images)
Meralco coach Norman Black (PBA Images)

“The advantage of being in Araneta Coliseum for us is the fact that we can probably get 4,000 or 5,000 fans in the gym, even though they’ll have the other 12,000, 13,000. But when you go to the province, that’s little bit more difficult. It’s hard to bring your fans from Metro Manila. So, we’ll see,” he added.

Ginebra holds a 3-1 record in out-of-town games this conference and is 2-0 whenever it visits Lucena for a Finals game.

The two victories came in Game 2 of the 2016-17 Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer and Game 1 of the 2017 Governors’ Cup Finals against the same Meralco squad.

Despite its good batting average in the province, Ginebra coach Tim Cone sees advantages and disadvantages.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone (PBA Images)
Ginebra coach Tim Cone (PBA Images)

“It’s always tough,” he said. “The travel and the conditions are always difficult. But there’s a real sense of togetherness when you go out-of-town because you’re on the road together and you’re in the hotel together and there’s extra preparation that goes on.”

Cone, however, remains cautious that another down-the-wire game looms after having to fight off a 10-point third quarter deficit to steal Game 1 from Meralco.

“I think it’s gonna be a ping-pong affair, and it’s gonna go back-and-forth,” Cone said. “(Winning) one game allows you to believe in your gameplan, so you’re not gonna make too many adjustments to it.

“When you lose Game 1, you kinda have to rethink your gameplan, so you’re gonna have to make adjustment.”

The two teams left the metropolis early Thursday for an expected four-hour bus ride to Lucena. Both were expected to hold practices once they settle in.

Hoping to continue their good form are import Justin Brownlee, who dropped 38 points and locals LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, who keyed Ginebra’s Game 1 rally.

Better showings from Stanley Pringle, Greg Slaughter and Scottie Thompson and another integral showing from Joe Devance may help the Kings move two wins shy of a third title in the last four stagings of the third conference.

For Meralco, getting point guard Baser Amer in his groove could give them the chance to draw level in order to add more support for import Allen Durham, Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome.

Better shooting is among the things Meralco is also aiming after going 7-of-32 from three-point country.

 

 
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