Sports

Cone sees ‘better’ Rakocevic going after Kings in Game 2


Nick Rakocevic (pictured above, left) and Justin Brownlee will be the key characters in the Magnolia-Ginebra franchise.  —PBA IMAGES

Nick Rakocevic — PBA IMAGES

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone prepares for a big response from Magnolia imported Nick Rakocevic, whose composure will be tested thoroughly Friday in Game 2 of the Basketball Association Commissioners Cup semifinals Philippines (PBA).

All eyes will be on Rakocevic during the 3pm game at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City after several incidents in Wednesday’s best-of-five opening match saw him disqualified and forced Magnolia to play all Filipinos for the rest of the way.

But Cone, who steered Ginebra to a hard-fought 87-84 win and will try to take a 2-0 lead, believes the former Serbian will atone for his mistake.

“He’ll learn,” Cone said. “He is a great player. He’s a really smart player and he’ll figure it out. He’s going to be on the pitch, I think, more, more motivated here in Game 2 and that’s something that we’re going to have to understand and try to overcome that challenge because he’s going to be really motivated. in the next game.”

Rakocevic was sent off for cumulative fouls, the first being a technical foul in the second half when he nearly landed an accidental punch at LA Tenorio as he protested the foul for colliding with Christian Standhardinger.

A Flagrant 1 foul in the third quarter for intentionally tripping Standhardinger got him disqualified.

But that didn’t stop Hotshots from keeping the game over.

Cone admitted that Rakocevic’s loss had somehow reduced Ginebra’s level of play, saying that “it could actually get harder. Hard to believe, but it does.”

Ginebra sealed victory on the defensive, forcing Magnolia to miss the last three shots and make two turns in the final two minutes.

Other Semi-Finals

The Gin Kings drew big games from Jamie Malonzo and Scottie Thompson, making up for the difficulties of importing Justin Brownlee, who was held on just 11 points — the second-lowest score of his honored PBA career. .

“That’s all the content of this series, it’s all about counter-attacking and adjusting to what the other team is doing,” said Cone of Magnolia’s defense of Brownlee. “They will be against some of the other things that we have done and we will have to fight against some of the things that they have done.

“I just thought it was going to be a horrible series. I’m glad we got Game 1. Game 1 is very important. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll win the series and losing Game 1 doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose the series, but it does give you a step forward, a very important step forward, as you move forward.”

The Bay Area away team also managed to lead San Miguel Beer 2-0 in the remaining semi-final at 5:45pm

The Dragons closed the 16-point gap and won 103-102 ahead of Kobey Lam’s match with 7.1 seconds left, a stunning result for the Beermen team to enter the series with confidence thanks to a near-field roster. prolific by the return of June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo.

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