Fighting against all odd such as injuries and inconsistencies, Barangay Ginebra Kings still made its way to the PBA 2017 Philippines Cup Finals by surviving Star Hotshots 89-76 in the Game 7 on Tuesday, February 21 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The duo Sol Mercado and Jervy Cruz played massive for the team to overcome a 0-2 series gap and win the Game 7; however their efforts were certainly noticed by Cone, who believed Jervy Cruz could take home the MVP of the series if chosen one.
Referring to forward Joe Devance, who missed 1 and 2 games, Coach Tim Cone said –
“He was the guy who stepped up for us in Joe’s absence, and sharing the time with Joe in the last couple of games,”
“He was the key guy, in my mind so it was a real team effort. As a coach, you really enjoy it when everybody contributes.”
The one-time UAAP champion and UAAP MVP out of University of Santo Tomas, Cruz grabbed his moments in the game to finish with 21 points.
Cone further praised Mercado, who displayed great performance on both ends of the field. Mercado added 23 points on 4-of-6 shooting from downtown along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
“That was our target, basically. Paul was No. 1, Ping and Maliksi, those are the three guys that we wanna target defensively. The job that Sol was able to do one-on-one kept us in our defensive game plan,” Cone said. “He was definitely the impact guy on defense.”
In spite of Hotshots taking 3-2 lead, Gin Kings never gave up on their efforts and refused to give up on the tough game. Now the Kings will face Beermen that defeated TNT on Monday.