Redemption, Rejuvenation, Reward: these are the three R’s that could probably describe how the B-Meg Llamados felt after semi-final nail-bitter game with the crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, last night (April 17, 2012) at the Ynarez Center, Antipolo City. The final score was 82-67 in favour of B-Meg.
Head coach Timothy Earl Cone recalled the ordeal they have to pass through this Commissioner’s Cup 2012. The fast paced elimination round and the quarter finals stint with Meralco shaped the character and capability of the Llamados.
Coach Cone said that “I really feel our physical game against Meralco prepared us tonight. We’re mentally prepared to play that kind of game.”
At the start of the game, the crowd favourite made an immediate impression of winning by imposing a 20+ lead even without star guard Mark Caguioa. By end of the first half a convincing 15 point lead was established by the Gin Kings. However, the Llamados slowly crept in filing up points and by third quarter they turned the tables. It was an unfortunate second half, for the other team since fouls were called one after the other. Jackson Vroman, a former NBA basketball star and a Lebanese National player accumulated down fouls after another at the dying minutes of the third quarter.
Cona emphasized that one game only wins a battle but doesn’t mean meaning the war. “I’ve been here many times before. Game One doesn’t mean much. Second game is really the key in my mind. It’s either you get out of a hole or get a big lead,” said Cone.
“It’s an interesting first half. They’re No. 1 in the league on defense and we’re No. 2. At halftime, I told the guys if we have to bleed for our points, don’t be afraid. That’s the way to win it,” said Cone. He added “We got going in the second half, we started knocking shots then we built a lead. It was surprising lead and to me that’s the story of the game.”
There was an incident also that Vroman committed a flagrant foul penalty one against Yancy De Ocampo. Ocampo was a former Gin King himself.
Now, the mindset of the Llamados is to prepare for the winner of the Barako Bull and Tropang Texters.