BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel and the TNT Tropang Giga look to take a step closer to the finals when they take on the Meralco Bolts and the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in Game 2 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup semis on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Tip-off for the Ginebra-Meralco tiff is at 3:45 p.m. while Phoenix versus TNT follows at 6:30 p.m.
As dominant as Ginebra was in beating Meralco, 96-79, in the series opener on Wednesday, Kings head coach Tim Cone is imploring his wards to not let their guard down, lest they suffer the same fate that they did in the 2019 Philippine Cup quarterfinals where they won Game 1 versus Magnolia and then lost the next two games.
“We were favored and we won Game 1, and we were all sitting nice and pretty. And then Magnolia swept us three games in a row in the semifinals and went on to play San Miguel in the championship,” said Cone during the postgame press conference.
“That’s fresh in my mind. That’s fresh in our mind, our collective mind. This game is nice to get but we’ve been in this situation before,” Cone said. “Meralco is a team on a mission. We interrupted that for one day, but hopefully, we continue to interrupt it.”
Meanwhile, Phoenix is hoping that their star wingman Matthew Wright will be able to play in Game 2 after spraining his ankle in the early moments of Game 1. Despite Wright’s absence, Phoenix fought tooth and nail against TNT but ultimately fell, 92-95.
The 29-year-old Filipino-Canadian gunner stepped on the foot of Tropang Giga forward Troy Rosario on a drive to the rim and hobbled out of the game. He wasn’t allowed to return and watched the rest of the game from the sidelines, finishing with just two points in six minutes of action.
Wright came into the game with stellar averages of 22.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game.
“He really wanted to play, but I don’t want to lose him eventually,” said Phoenix head coach Topex Robinson after the game.
“He’ll be ready. He’s gonna be okay,” added Robinson.