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Ginebra coach Tim Cone experiment on starters, get obliterated by San Miguel


By Mark Patriarca

After demolishing San Miguel right from the get-go in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Finals series, Ginebra coach Tim Cone decided to ‘experiment’ on his starters, opting to go small ball even when SMB’s June Mar Fajardo is around.

The familiar faces of Scottie Thompson and 7-foot center Greg Slaughter started off Game 2 on the bench, with Cone trusting Jeff Chan and Kevin Ferrer in a starting role.

And that move proved to be ineffective against a rampaging San Miguel.

Beermen capitalized on Ginebra’s defense and unleashed a 6-0 blast just 1 minute and 30 seconds past into the game.

The offense of Ginebra also became more predictable with only L.A Tenorio as the primary ball handler. Alex Cabagnot exploited this by snatching three steals that led to easy points for his teammates. He also scored on jumpers with no pesky defender like Thompson or long arms of Slaughter near him.

And with that momentum, San Miguel, most especially Cabagnot, never looked back.

In front of over 15,000 crowd in attendance, ‘The Crunch Man’ Alex Cabagnot put on a show as he scored 22 points just in the first half to blaze past Ginebra, 75-46, entering the break.

Cabagnot finished the game with 33 markers built around a perfect 7-of-7 two-point shooting clip, plus nine assists, and an equal number of rebounds and steals of four.

The Beermen didn’t let a late Ginebra rally sneak past them as they limited Ginebra’s biggest scoring run to just eight points, with San Miguel establishing 31 point biggest lead in the game.

The hardship of Ginebra ended, 134-109, as San Miguel even up the series in a dominating fashion.

Aside from Cabagnot, four Beermen also provided huge contribution in their win. Four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo posted 25 points while Renaldo Balkman, Christian Standhardinger and Marcio Lassiter had 20 markers apiece.

Ginebra import Justin Brownlee still had a stellar game with 27 points, but was simply not enough against a full-strength San Miguel squad.

The Kings will look for a way to bounce back in Game 3 this August 1, Wednesday, 7 p.m. still at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

San Miguel 134 – Cabagnot 33, Fajardo 25, Lassiter 20, Balkman 20, Standhardinger 20, Santos 14, Mamaril 2, Ross 0, Lanete 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Pessumal 0, Vigil 0.

Ginebra 109 – Brownlee 29, Devance 16, Thompson 16, Slaughter 15, Tenorio 13, Mercado 11, Chan 4, R. Aguilar 2, Manuel 2, J. Aguilar 1, Ferrer 0, Caguioa 0, Cruz 0, Caperal 0, Mariano 0, Jamito 0.