Three days removed after suffering the Game 1 defeat, the Dragons looked like they had adapted to the physicality in the finals.
After getting rolled over and outsmarted by the much experienced Ginebra in the opening game of the series, Bay Area made sure that it won’t be pushed around this time after getting accustomed to the physicality and officiating.
Dragons head coach Brian Goorjian felt like they managed to hold up on the defensive end without fouling – something that the Kings exploited in Game 1 which threw some of their players out of their rhythms.
“We go on this game, the game is about easy baskets, offensive rebounds and putbacks and putting the team together on the foul line. Tonight, we defended without fouling. We made the adjustments according to the PBA rules of playing the game without fouling,” said Goorjian.
Bay Area actually put on a conscious effort on making sure that the team will get adjusted to the fouls and the physicality ahead of Game 2. In Game 1, Zhu Songwei was hampered by foul trouble all-game long, even picking up three quick fouls barely three minutes into the first game.
On the other hand, the Dragons head coach felt that Andrew Nicholson didn’t get the calls on the offensive end, something Goorjian even described as the "Kings getting away with murder" in that opening game.
“We are in a series in your country, the PBA and the rules that are played in Australia were different in the rules in America and the rules in America were different than the international rule, that was the first game in a finals series,” said Goorjian
“We did not complain about the referees. All we try to do is figure out how the game is called and make the adjustments that was my job in between games,” he clarified.
The adjustments indeed paid off for the Dragons as they bared their defensive fangs and limited Ginebra to just 82 points – its fewest in the PBA Finals since Game 3 of the last season’s Governors’ Cup.
Bay Area shot 18-of-21 from the foul line as compared to Ginebra’s 3-of-5 clip. Zhu and Nicholson feasted on the Kings’ foul situation, combining for 11-of-13.
Now that the Dragons seemed to have everything figured out Goorjian said the team now has to stay in the course and stick to what allowed them to equalize the series and reduce it to a virtual best-of-five.
“(We) move forward (and) we got to stay on the page,” he added.