After a week-long hiatus, the Gin Kings and Dragons are set to break their tie.
Both the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and Bay Area Dragons have flexed their might in these Commissioner’s Cup Finals — and it appears this series is destined to be a dogfight. As Game 3 looms, let’s break down how each team can grab this all-important 2-1 advantage.
How the Gin Kings can author royal revenge
Pressure the ball. In a recent episode of “The Game,” LA Tenorio credited Bay Area’s wing defense for disrupting the Gin Kings’ patented triangle. The Dragons did so with aggressive on-ball defense, and Ginebra will need to do the same to stymie Bay Area’s spread offense.
Get in transition. Held to a just 38% shooting from the field in Game 2, the Gin Kings will need to score easy points in transition to get in a better rhythm offensively — and that is something their defense will dictate.
Attack aggressively. Tim Cone rued Game 2’s free throw disparity in Tuesday night’s episode of “The Game,” noting how Ginebra attempted just 5 freebies as opposed to Bay Area’s 21. But the Dragons forced the Gin Kings to be jump shooters last time around, with even Justin Brownlee settling for the long ball. Ginebra needs to be more aggressive getting to the paint if they want to get to the line.
What the Dragons need to do to stay on fire
Stay disciplined in the half court. Bay Area can get a ton of open shots when they execute with laser-like precision, and they showed that in Game 2. If they keep doing so in Game 3, they will probably get their fair share of open looks. All the Dragons will have to do is make them.
Keep Zhu in the game and involved. Zhu Songwei appears to be the X-factor in this series, as his size and skill makes him a matchup nightmare. He can shoot over every one of Ginebra’s wings, and he is too quick against the Gin Kings’ bigs. On defense, he has the length and quickness to bother Justin Brownlee and help Andrew Nicholson wall off the paint.
Match Ginebra’s intensity. The Gin Kings are going to be pumped for Game 3 and will be out for some Dragon blood early. Bay Area needs to match that aggression and fight and weather what might very well be an early Ginebra storm.
This series might also be due for its first down-the-wire finish after two blowouts both ways. The team that would prove steadier down the stretch might just take a 2-1 lead in these Finals.