MANILA - San Miguel Beer threw a variety of defenders against TNT import Terrence Jones in Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals -- to little effect.
The former Houston Rocket sliced up San Miguel's defense for 41 points on 12-of-23 shooting, while adding 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 blocks to his statline. Jones sparked the 18-0 run that broke the game open in the first period, and TNT went on to seize a 109-96 win -- and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
SMB coach Leo Austria tried putting Christian Standhardinger on Jones, but Jones brushed him off with his speed. Kelly Nabong had little choice but to foul him. Even their own import, Chris McCullough, had trouble keeping up. Chris Ross took on the task of guarding the explosive import in the second half, and managed to slow him down just a tad.
"I was able to kinda slow him down a bit, but it was kinda too late," a subdued Ross said after the game.
It was certainly a chaotic assignment for the Beermen. Jones and Standhardinger got entangled in the first quarter, and Ross took exception to an elbow from the much taller Jones in the second half. Through it all, the TNT import did his best to stay composed.
"I'm used to it," he said of the defensive tactics being employed against him -- some of which may go over the top. "But you know, this is the championship, so I'm definitely emotional as well."
"I love to play the game, I want to win, so I'm here to not let anybody punk me," he stressed. "But I'm definitely, you know, trying to stay calm and stay poised to make sure I stay in the game for my team."
Jones expects that San Miguel will continue to try unconventional ways to defend him as the series goes on, but he says he knows what to do in response.
"I mean, that's pretty much the only thing that, you know, teams try to do to make me not be as aggressive on offense. So you know, it comes within the game, and I'm ready for it," he said.
Game 2 of the series is on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
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