Last Sunday, coach Tim Cone wasn’t happy with what he had seen from the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, even if his wards were able to come out victorious over the depleted GlobalPort Batang Pier in come-from-behind fashion.
“They sleepwalk for three and a half quarters and try to win a game down the stretch,” stressed the champion mentor.
“In my experience I’ve seen it. They don’t play until they really have to and I’m very distrubed by that.”
Five days later, Cone’s worst fear came true.
Ginebra’s two-game winning streak saw its bitter end on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena at the hands of a fiery Blackwater Elite, 77-94 — their first loss ever to the four-year-old franchise in a Philippine Cup setting.
Looking at the game itself, the Gin Kings had chances to emulate what they had done against GlobalPort. Unfortunately for them, however, in the last frame, they could neither break the Elite nor their composure.
“We can’t come out resting on our laurels,” rued Greg Slaughter, who led the Barangay with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. “We always have to bring our game.
“Hopefully we learned that lesson tonight.”
The Barangay had a hard time containing their counterparts, as Blackwater maximized their speed and their big men’s wits in spreading the floor — a move that effectively responded to Ginebra’s huge size advantage.
But for the seven-foot center, their defense wasn’t really the problem.
“I think our main problem was just our execution on offense, causing us problems. We didn’t really make it hard for them,” he opined. “And they took advantage every time we would be messing up on offense.”
Still, the four-year pro showed graciousness in defeat and tipped his hat to Blackwater, who are now riding a two-game winning streak and now carry a 2-1 card, similar to Ginebra, NLEX, Phoenix, and Magnolia.
“You could see how they were playing their first couple of games. This team’s for real. They’ve been building, making the right moves,” Slaughter praised.
“They’ve really been building themselves to be contenders.”
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