San Miguel def Brgy. Ginebra, 106-96 [PBA S48 Comm’s Cup SF G2 | Jan. 26, 2024]

How can one defeat an opponent that appears to be invincible? Brgy. Ginebra put in a solid effort during Wednesday’s match, but made some costly mistakes towards the end, resulting in a disappointing loss.

On Friday, Coach Tim Cone and the team will face San Miguel once again in an attempt to even the score in Game 2 of their PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal match at 4 p.m. in the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

“We are going to try to find a way to beat this good team, tough team. They have a lot of different kinds of weapons,” said Cone, likening the current SMB team to the SMB “Death Squad” in the recent years.

“They got their own version of the ‘Death Five’ except that (Bennie) Boatwright is playing Arwind Santos. It’s like Arwind and June Mar (Fajardo) together and the Death Five except Boatwright is five inches taller, 30 pounds heavier, and shoots his ball as well as Arwind did. Just makes our job even harder,” he added.

The other players considered as threats are CJ Perez, who was the leading scorer for SMB with 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in a close win against the Gin Kings, 92-90.

Terrence Romeo’s absence due a sprained ankle slightly reduced the defensive load for the Gin Kings.

“Terrence didn’t play. I assume he might come back on Friday. But he might be the next guy to step up. Or Marcio (Lassiter). Or Chris (Ross). Or (Don) Trollano. They have a lot of weapons. That’s kinda like the choices you make. Focus on June Mar and Boatwright, and someone else is going to beat you,” said Cone.

Despite their efforts, the defending champs were unable to secure victory, missing opportunities for overtime and a game-winning shot in their last possession.

“We tried to stay with them. We stayed with them but they made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t make the plays down the stretch. Basically, that was the game. We are going to look at the video and see what needs to be adjusted,” said Cone.

The game was evenly matched, with neither team gaining a lead of more than 10 points. In the fourth quarter, the largest difference between the teams was six points.

The Gin Kings had a six-point lead, but were ultimately defeated in the end.

“I give all the credit to the players. When we needed a big stop, I think they stopped them twice. When we had a chance to win, the players delivered,” said SMB coach Jorge Gallent.

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