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Tim Cone lauds Ginebra’s character, resilience as they near PBA Finals

It is not merely the fact that Ginebra has moved on the cusp of reaching the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup Finals that makes Coach Tim Cone proud.

It is how his wards have shown character and belief again after falling into a tough situation in their best-of-7 semis battle against rivals Meralco.

“That’s what I’m most proud about – our guys’ ability to battle and fight through all of that adversity and find a way to win,” said the 25-time champion mentor.

Cone said as much moments after their 89-84 Game 5 win on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

His team came back from a deficit as wide as 15 in the third quarter in yet another classic NSD showing by the Barangay.

More importantly, they have now taken the 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 affair, leaving the Kings beaming with pride after things appeared bleak for them.

The crowd darlings were down 1-2 in the series after that 87-80 defeat in Game 3 in Cavite, and Cone disclosed that it did affect his team’s morale.

“Our Game 3 was just horrendous,” he said as the aforementioned loss was their second in a row after taking the series opener, 92-88. “We were back the next day and just kind of looked at each other and we were all really down.”

But everyone on the team knew that it was all on them to overcome that negativity especially heading into the crucial Game 4 last Friday.

“We talked about it,” said Cone. “We talked about the negativity at that point, and how we have to turn that around and walk into this next game positive.”

They did just that. With a rejigged first five led by LA Tenorio and Stanley Pringle, Ginebra went off to a quick start and scored the 90-71 rout.

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The win in the pivotal Game 5 where they pulled off a spirited comeback led by Christian Standhardinger, who finished with 34 points and nine rebounds.

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“Luckily, we got out to a quick lead in Game Four and that really lifted our spirits,” said Cone of that series-tying victory.

“Coming out here in Game Five, falling behind by 15 points and battling back twice. We came back pretty much at the end of the half and then we had to come back again at the end of the third quarter. So we battled and battled.”

Now, they’re just one win away from their third Finals appearance in the last four conferences and that’s big thanks to the fight they have in them.

“That’s very character-building as a team. That’s basically playoff basketball. It’s the only way you win in the playoffs,” said Cone.

“Unless you’re San Miguel,” he added jokingly, drawing chuckles from those inside the press room.

“San Miguel just walks on and beats everybody.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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