The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone acknowledged that Joshua Smith will continue to inflict damage down low, but he is hoping his wards would make up for it in other characteristics as the Gin Kings seek to secure the lead in their 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series against TNT KaTropa at one matchup apiece on Tuesday evening, June 13.
In their first game, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings failed to crack the puzzle that is the 6-foot-10, 330-pound Smith, who completed a total of 35 points, 13 boards, four assists, and a couple of steals in just 28 minutes from the bench in the TNT Texters’ 100-94 Game One victory on Sunday night.
“He’s a load, no doubt about it,” Tim Cone said in an interview in a practice a day after the defeat. “We didn’t have an answer for him. It’s just hard to deny him his position.”
“But the bottom line is we did not play a complete game,” the Gin Kings head coach was quick to add. “Yeah, he beat us up, but offensively, we missed a bunch of … missed three or four dunks, we had some really uncharacteristic turnovers, and we had some breakdowns defensively that we don’t normally have.”
If the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel can bounce back their momentum in those areas, then Tim Cone believes that can reverse Smith’s control inside the court.
“Josh Smith is going to get his stuff. He’s that good, he’s that big. He’s going to get his stuff, but we can compete in other areas,” Tim Cone said. “And I felt that was what we didn’t do last game. We lost in the other areas also. And if we’re going to lose to him and in all the other areas, then we don’t’ have a chance.
“We’re not going to have any magic defense to shut him down. He’s going to get his numbers,” he further added. “But, like I said, there are some other areas of the game that we can take advantage of that we didn’t.”
So it appears that the Ginebra will just have to live with Smith’s efficient production off the floor.
The TNT KaTropa maximized the advantage it has — a 6-foot-10 behemoth in Joshua Smith — and reversed all pre-series predictions by the sports analysts that it was the underdog against Gin Kings.
Smith came off the bench and securing a 100-94 win against the top-seeded Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as the TNT KaTopa Texters broke the ice in their best-of-five Final Four series in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup before a shocked pro-Gin Kins crowd at Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.
Justin Brownlee contributed 24 points to the Gin Kings, with LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar shooting 15 each.
The Ginebra-TNT Game 2 is set on Tuesday night also at Mall of Asia Arena.
With a 1-0 series lead after a 109-105 victory on Saturday, Victolero wants his Hotshots to stay the course knowing that the San Miguel Beermen will do everything to rebound in their 7 p.m. matchup at the MOA Arena.