Keeping the fire burning is the only thing that is on the mind of Barangay Ginebra as it goes for a commanding 2-0 lead on Rain or Shine in the resumption of their best-of-five semifinals series in the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
With a 1-0 lead, the Gin Kings shoot for their ninth straight victory and a tighter grip on the showdown even as the Elasto Painters look to make it a series when they meet in Game 2 at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.
Still carrying all its momentum and fine play, Ginebra scored first after manhandling top seeded Rain or Shine, 102-89, Sunday night in a dominant Game 1 performance to win its eight straight outing dating back to the elimination round.
Justin Brownlee remained steady, while Jeff Chan finally had a breakthrough performance as a Gin King as the two led their team’s charge in the opener.
Brownlee dropped 35 points as he continued his brilliance, while Chan scored 21 markers, his most in a Ginebra uniform thus far.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone is quite pleased with how his team drew first blood.
“It’s not a long series so it’s key for us to have an early advantage,” said Cone. “We’re continuing to play our game and have the required defense to compete at this level. That’s been our ammo. So far, so good. I hope we can continue to do it.”
The Gin Kings took Game 1 despite missing the services of key forward Japeth Aguilar, who is suffering from an injured Achilles heel.
As per Cone, Aguilar is a game-time decision for Game 2.
“There’s still a swelling on Japeth’s Achilles and we still don’t know if he can go. We surely hope he can for Game 2. It’s 50-50,” Cone said.
While Rain or Shine import Reggie Johnson scored 30, the Painters failed to get ample contributions from their locals.
Johnson certainly needs some more help from his pals if the Elasto Painters are to avoid a deep 0-2 hole against the red hot Gin Kings.