MANILA, Philippines — Ginebra drew inspiration from its ecstatic fans from the stands to live another day in the 2022 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.
Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said their roaring fans from the 7,091 crowd attendance — the biggest in a PBA game amid the pandemic — made a huge difference in helping them to overcome the twice-to-beat advantage of TNT with a 104-92 victory.
“It makes a huge difference for us, no doubt about it. They show up every game and they cheer us on. Whether we’re up or down, they still continue to cheer us. Truly a special group,” said Cone in the post-game interview.
“It lends to us, it really does. From a coaching standpoint, I don’t hear it very much until I watch the replay and I hear it on the TV because I’m trying to narrow my focus on what we’re doing. But I know the players feel it.”
Ginebra, which leaned on Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, and Japeth Aguilar, received a huge boost from the cheers of their fans to build a 40-21 lead in the second quarter.
And even TNT cut it down to just one at the end of third, 71-70, fans continued to cheer on until Brownlee led the Gin Kings’ crucial 10-2 run to for a 100-90 breather with 1:21 left in the match en route to forcing another game for a semifinals berth.
“Sometimes I watch our guys, and they’re playing at such a high level and I wonder, ‘Why are they playing at such a high level?’ Well, it’s the crowd. The crowd’s forcing them to play at that level,” Cone said “It’s truly a benefit for us, and we’ve really missed them over the last couple years. We really, really have.”
Although they neutralized TNT’s significant edge, Cone said there’s nothing to celebrate as they brace for a tougher match on Sunday.
“They had the overwhelmingly big odds coming into this series, and now we’ve kind of halved those odds. They’re still the favorites,” he said. “The second one is much, much tougher so that’s our agenda at this point, trying to figure out a way to get the next one.”
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