Ginebra is committed to putting San Miguel at risk

Mar 29, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – At the outset of their PBA Governors’ Cup semi final match, BARANGAY Ginebra presented San Miguel Beer with a significant issue.

When they fight again on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, the Gin Kings hope to show greater consistency and so make the Beermen’s worries even worse.

To avoid starting 0 to 2 down, coach Jorge Gallent and his team will undoubtedly play with more determination. To contain Christian Standhardinger, though, they must first be able to address one critical weakness in their defense.

Ginebra won the first game of the best-of-five series 121 to 112, largely due to Standhardinger’s near-unstoppable play in the shaded lanes, which allowed players like Jamie Malonzo to have more space for outside jumpers.

Tim Cone, the Kings’ head coach, referred to Fil-German center Standhardinger as the team’s lynchpin in his assessment of the center’s strong performance in the season-ending tournament as the Kings’ quest for a second consecutive championship and fifth overall.

According to Cone, “Christian’s simply been playing tremendous. He’s been making the perfect reads and rolls for his teammates, which opens up the perimeter for us and allows Jamie, Justin (Brownlee), and Scottie (Thompson) to get their shots.

Cone remarked, “We won the game, so I guess we performed well overall.” But there were times when we played poorly or a little flatly.

With 33 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1, Standhardinger cautioned, “You never can count them out.” The important lesson we should take away from it, in my opinion, is to keep pushing forward and play the best defense we can.

The primary cause of Cone and Standhardinger continued caution is the way in which SMB fought back after falling behind by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. The Beermen’s 15 to 0 barrage that they launched only three minutes into the fourth session, leveling the score at 95, was the pinnacle of that run.

Thanks to Malonzo’s triple and Standhardinger’s string of four points, the Kings were able to regain their lead before their teammates joined them in repelling their opponents.

Even still, it was clear that Cone wasn’t entirely satisfied with the experience. 

Cone continued, “This team is too excellent. If it were a close game and you lost focus, they might be up 10, 15, or more in a flash. Fortunately, it occurred while we were ahead by 20, so we still had time to recover.

It’s a little bit back to the drawing board for us heading into Game 2 if it had occurred in the middle of the match and it was a two-point game or a three-point game.

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