Even coach Jorge Gallent couldn’t figure out the reason behind San Miguel’s sudden dip that ultimately led to a humiliating end to their PBA season.
The no. 2 seed entering the Governors’ Cup playoffs, the Beermen lost to reigning champions Ginebra in the semifinals via sweep, marking the very first time that the proud franchise got blanked in a best-of-5 series.
A part of the club’s think-tank for 12 years now, the veteran mentor felt that the team felt content in reaching the semis, which proved to be a recipe for disaster especially against a team that’s now out to win championship No. 7 since 2016.
“I think we were just happy to be in the semis. But this is San Miguel. We are supposed to be in the semis,” Gallent told reporters moments after their 87-85 Game 3 loss, Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“I really have to find out why that thing happened,” added the coach who replaced Leo Austria prior to the season-ending conference.
San Miguel did play unselfish basketball especially in the first three quarters, which saw the crew lead by as many as 18 points at one point.
“Feeling ko, this was the first game eh, This is how we play. Games 1 and 2, I think we weren’t there. We weren’t focused,” said Gallent.
But little by little, the comfortable lead evaporated. The Kings chipped away the deficit, and it didn’t help that SMB put more attention to the referees.
Gallent admitted that they complained too much that they lost focus on the task at hand and that’s by extending its run at least for a day.
They indeed paid dearly for it most especially in the dying seconds, when, ironically, former Beerman Christian Standhardinger sank the go-ahead bucket from inside the paint to convert Justin Brownlee’s nifty find.
“We just lost focus on the last five minutes of the game,” he said as San Miguel held an 82-75 lead with 4:10 left to play. “I think we were complaining a lot, then our minds went out of the game … we kinda lost it a little.
“In the first three quarters we were moving the ball a lot, pagdating sa fourth the complaining started and the dip came. We just have to be composed with the referees and just let their calls go and just move on,” he added.
Gallent, though, could only concede that they lost to a better team mentored by a great coach in Tim Cone, who has a chance of winning his 26th title.
“We just played a great team here in the semis, a well-coached team. Imagine, I was playing against the winningest coach sa PBA,” he said. “It was an honor, but I didn’t like the sweep. But we’ll get them next time.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.