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Dragons, Kings seek 2-0 leads

Games today:
(Philsports Arena)
3 p.m. — Magnolia vs Ginebra
5:45 p.m. — Bay Area vs San Miguel

Bay Area and Barangay Ginebra seek 2-0 leads when they tackle separate foes in Game 2 of their respective Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal showdowns today at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

After a slow start in Game 1, the Dragons are looking to roar early when they battle San Miguel Beer at 5:45 p.m. while the Kings will tackle longtime rival Magnolia in the first game at 3 p.m.

The Dragons trailed by as many as 16 points in the first 44 minutes of action but stepped on the gas in the final stretch to gain control and draw the first blood in the series that is tipped to go down the wire.

But Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian believes that it’s still a long way to go.

“It’s a war — not a game,” Goorjian, who coached Australia to its first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last year, said.

“As series or playoffs are totally different from a regular season. You’re playing the same team, maybe, five times.”

“The team that gets better as the series goes on is going to win the series. This is just one game. There are a lot of things that we didn’t do well that we can still do better. Recovery and getting our bodies fresh again and making the adjustments from this one. Let’s see where it takes us.”

In the series opener, San Miguel’s local firepower was in full display with former scoring champions CJ Perez and Terrence Romeo presiding over the offense.

Perez and Romeo combined for 45 points while three more locals — Marcio Lassiter, six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and Jericho Cruz — ended up in double figures to overcome the production of import Devon Scott, whose offensive game took a backseat to help the Beermen in other departments.

Scott ended up with only nine points but flirted with a triple-double performance with eight rebounds and eight assists.

Like Bay Area, Ginebra also wants to move two games up when it takes on Magnolia in Game 2.

The Kings survived a tightly-fought 87-84 win on Wednesday, but not after outlasting a gutsy Hotshots side that played tough even without import Nick Rakocevic for the most part of the second half.

Christian Standhardinger got into the head of Rakocevic, who got called for a technical foul and later on, a disqualifying foul in the last 6:31 of the third period, that led to his ejection.

Rakocevic will need to keep his emotions in check to be able to help the Hotshots make a deep run in the playoffs.

After all, they are currently playing on their fourth straight Final Four appearance and head coach Chito Victolero feels that they are ripe to win a championship.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone is no stranger to situations such as the Standhardinger-Rakocevic incident and had seen through the years how players did whatever it takes to win.

“There’s no pogi points in basketball. It’s all about getting it done,” Cone said.

“That’s what our guys did. They got it done. On to the next, Game 2, and we’re going to see a lot more and we’re going to see a motivated Rakocevic come Game 2 and we’re gonna have to brace ourselves for that.”

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