Dec 09, 2022

Ginebra determined to finish off NorthPort, secure semis seat

BARANGAY Ginebra used an unforgiving defense in putting NorthPort's back against the wall in their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals duel.

The Gin Kings intend to display the same tenacity in making stops when they try to close out the Batang Pier Saturday at the PhilSports Arena.

Game time is 4:30 p.m.

No less than Ginebra coach Tim Cone expressed his side's burning desire to put its oft-repeated mantra into action following its 118-102 win over its sixth-ranked foe at the start of their best-of-three series last Wednesday.

"As long as we continue to focus on our defense, that defense will help our offense," Cone has said. "That's what we're looking for game in and game out. We tried to think the game (as) 'Defense first.'"

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It is up to NorthPort to come up with a suitable counter, something which it failed to do once again as in their eight previous encounters.

For a long while in the opener, the Batang Pier seemed on their way to finally turning the tables on the perennial crowd darlings, grittily fighting back from an early 12-point deficit to make it a very tight contest.

Then Justin Brownlee led a furious 19-4 assault that towed Ginebra from the last deadlock at 70-all and into a 15-point spread going into the final 12 minutes of play.

In that run, the Kings stifled the Batang Pier to a pedestrian 1-of-9 field shooting and three turnovers for the decisive momentum that spilled over into the fourth period as the former even stretched their lead to a high of 20 points.

Brownlee led five Ginebra players in double figures with 39 points, but it was his team's 33 assists which pleased Cone more.

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"That tells me how much we're sharing the ball, and we feel when we're all sharing the ball then everybody's involved in all aspects of the game," explained Cone.

"They're involved defensively, they're involved on the boards, they're involved, obviously, in movement in offense, execution," added Cone. "So good barometer for us and... we try to pride ourselves in that part of the game." (NC)