Inspiration & Sports

Keys to Barangay Ginebra’s Bid For A Close-Out Win

Barangay Ginebra’s never-say-die spirit was very much alive in Game Two.

And no one else best typifies the never-say-die spirit than its old-reliable forward Rudy Hatfield.

HatfieldThe 6’3″ bulky Hatfield was all over the court during Game Two. He dove for loose ball, plucked down rebounds and scored whenever the opportunity rises on the way to finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 22 stellar minutes. His effort helped Barangay Ginebra beat Rain or Shine, 79-77 to force a rubber match on Sunday in their best-of-three quarterfinals at the Big Dome.

Gin Kings coach Siot Tanquingcen said Hatfield’s performance easily showed the never-say-die attitude of Barangay Ginebra.

“The key thing was just a personification of Rudy (Hatfield).  Iyung heart, puso ba… diving for looseball, dun mo makikita sa mga players na kagaya niya. I’m very privileged to be working amongst players like that,” said Tanquingcen of his 35-year-old power forward.

Here are a a few key things Ginebra will need to close out the series and advance to the semifinals:

1. Control the rebounds – Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said by finishing -12 in the rebounding department (59-47 in favor of Barangay Ginebra in Game Two), they basically deny themselves the chance to close the series in Game Two.

“I think they outworked us off the boards. Iyun lang naman ang simple evaluation for the game,” noted Guiao.

Hatfield and even rookie center Yousef Taha combined for 14 rebounds in Game Two – providing the hustle and the energy as the Big Dome bustled with excitement and loud cheers from the thousands of Barangay Ginebra fans.

Guiao said a big rebounding advantage in Game Three could be fatal to their semifinals bid, so for Ginebra, it’s a matter of pounding the boards and victory would be imminent.

2. Tight defense. Rain or Shine shot just 33.8 percent (26-of-77) from the field in Game Two. The Elasto Painters also struggled from beyond the arc, going just 9-0f-33 overall with Jeff Chan struggling at 2-of-10.

Of course, Chan is not the lone gunner for Rain or Shine. Guiao’s team still has big men like Beau Belga and JR Quinahan who can shoot from threes, while Paul Lee, Chris Tiu and TY Tang are legitimate threat from the perimeter.

If Barangay Ginebra can duplicate its defensive intensity come Game Three, Rain or Shine will surely be in big trouble.

Game Three is set on Sunday (Dec. 16) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum beginning at 5 p.m.

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