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TNT proved it can keep step with Ginebra even without Parks, says Cone

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — Coach Tim Cone admitted that Ray Parks’ absence for TNT Tropang GIGA made his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel a bit complacent in Game Two of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Wednesday night.

The Gin Kings walked out of the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural center with the 92-90 win in the bag and the 2-0 lead in the race-to-four series. But before that, they had to overcome first a 15-point deficit in the third quarter.

“Maybe it was the absence of Bobby Ray that kind of let us down emotionally a little bit. It is always hard in the back of your mind, [that] ‘Bobby Ray is not there, we’re going to have an easier time’,” he said.

Parks was in uniform but did not see action after aggravating his left calf injury in Game One. But others stepped up in his absence.

Roger Pogoy was back to his precise gunslinging ways with 38 points, including 15 in the third quarter that allowed them to lead by 15 points twice. He shot 59-percent from the floor, going 5-of-9 from deep.

Simon Enciso came through on offense as well with 15 points. Jayson Castro made 13 points and six assists, while the frontcourt tandem of Poy Erram and Troy Rosario chipped in 11 markers each.

“They were playing with such vigor,” Cone said.

“They were so vigorous in everything they were doing — in their offense, in their defense. They were really making up for Bobby Ray Parks’ absence with effort.

“Both on defense and offense. I’m talking about an effort like going to the offensive boards, hard cuts, things like that,” he added.

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The Barangay, on the other hand, were hounded by offensive woes. Usual suspects LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, and Scottie Thompson were far from their form in the series opener last Sunday.

Much of the load was carried by Stanley Pringle and Aljon Mariano, who had 34 and 20 points, respectively. But Thompson and Tenorio came up big in the dying moments to help Ginebra complete the comeback.

Cone felt relieved to see his charges pull through, admitting that he himself wasn’t sure if they could win the match.

“I don’t know if it is composure. We were talking about that a lot. We were talking about… We got to calm out, we got to stay calm through this storm, we got to create our own storm of emotion which we did not have. And then we said we got to stay calm within that storm. It was really hard for us to get that emotion for some reason or another, I can’t really tell you why.

“But when they started stretching the lead out, we did not panic. We were not forcing things; we were still taking our time and try to methodically work back in the game. JD [Jared Dillinger] kept yelling during timeouts, one point at a time, one point at a time, we can make it back. Frankly, I wasn’t sure. JD had more faith than me,” he explained.

Game Three is on Friday, but it remains unknown if Parks will be able to suit up. But with or without the second-generation cager, Cone hopes that they all can avoid being lulled into complacency.

“For us to think it was going to be any easier without Bobby Ray Parks was really wrong thinking on our part, and that is something that we’re going to have to try to correct as we go forward.”

Written By

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

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