By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
GINEBRA’S “never say die” spirit prevailed as they survived a resilient TNT Katropa team in their Game 3 semis clash, 80-72, in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup last July 31, 2019.
Coach Tim Cone drew all the cards from his stack, interchanging line-ups numerous times in the game.
The prized coach surprised TNT with his small ball line-up, putting Justin Brownlee in the center spot surrounded by a four-guard rotation.
The revamped line-up provided speed and improved floor spacing for the Gin Kings that caused a couple of rotation errors in TNT’s defense.
But Cone wasn’t done, as he mixed things up again and even fielded a big line-up at some points of the game that made it hard for Terrence Jones to operate easily in the paint.
In a show of height dominance, Cone sent Greg Slaughter (7’1’’), Japeth Aguilar (6’9’’), Brownlee (6’5’’) and Joe Devance (6’7’’) at the same time, crowding Ginebra’s interior defense everytime TNT drove to the basket.
Cone drew another card from his stack by tapping veteran and crowd favorite Mark Caguioa in the second half that made the Aranetago wild.
Also, Tenorio gave Ginebraa much needed lift as he chipped in 16 points to lead all Gin King scorers.
Brownlee was held to 14 points, his lowest output of the conference, but his 12 points in the second halfproved timely.
Jones had another monster performance for TNT, posting 24 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks in the loss.
Game 4 is today, 7 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.