Tim Cone, Ginebra look to avoid Banchero explosion in Game 6

SCHEDULE: 2024 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals

Meralco Bolts' Chris Banchero against San Miguel Beermen defeners in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals

Meralco Bolts’ Chris Banchero against San Miguel Beermen defeners in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Ginebra took the pivotal 3-2 lead over Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday but it didn’t come easy.

While the Gin Kings came out as the victors in Game 5, it didn’t come without difficulties as they had to come up with ways to limit Chris Banchero, who was waxing hot in the game’s first half.

If Cone has anything to say about it, he hopes for Banchero to “cool down” come Ginebra’s possible closeout game on Wednesday in Game 6.

READ: PBA: Fatigued Ginebra digs deep to take pivotal semis lead

“He was hitting shots from everywhere in that first half and it’s hard to maintain that pace and continue to hit shots like that,” said the veteran tactician.

“You just kind of hope a guy like that cools down basically. He wasn’t making easy shots, he was making deep, deep threes and he missed a couple in the third quarter and I think that cooled him down a bit. It’s hard to defend a guy when he’s shooting from 28 feet and making them. That’s why Steph Curry’s so hard to guard.”

Ginebra’s hopes partially came true on Sunday but it only happened in the second half.

READ: PBA: Limiting Meralco duo key for Ginebra in Game 6

After exploding for 16 points in the game’s opening half, Banchero cooled down in the second half to score only two points, ending up with just 18 points in the loss.

Should Banchero catch fire again on Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum, Cone has an idea to let his squad match the feisty guard’s firepower on offense.

After all, it is a team game and five is better than one when it comes to the Gin Kings’ offense.

“That’s why you got five guys on the floor. One guy has a hot stretch and then later on another guy has a hot stretch. That’s what being a team is all about, not relying on one guy.”

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Banchero and company hope to push Ginebra to a Game 7 tomorrow at the Big Dome.