While Barangay Ginebra lost a hardly-fought affair to the Alaska Aces, 86-80, import Othyus Jeffers believes the loss can serve as a great confidence builder for the squad.
“We are not holding our heads down. That is a great game for us as far as our confidence because that team has been in the finals the last three of four conferences,” Jeffers said.
Silence enveloped the Smart-Araneta Coliseum after Shane Edwards finished an alley-oop slam off a Cyrus Baguio pass, pushing Alaska ahead 77-66.
But the ever resilient Ginebra side refused to back down despite a bad shooting night, pulling to within 79-78 before RJ Jazul knocked down the Aces’ last seven points.
Still, Jeffers finds a silver lining in the loss which snapped Ginebra’s three-game winning run.
“I give Alaska credit for disorienting the team and making us do things out of character. But we were still in the game, we found a way to compete, but at the end of the game, we lost (the game),” he said.
Jeffers also took the blame for a bad shooting performance.
“I missed shots I’ve never missed and we were still in the game. A couple of fishy calls in the end where we should have the ball, I thought, but that’s basketball,” he shared.
Jeffers did have 21 points and 24 rebounds, but was a miserable 7-for-25 on the floor. The entire Ginebra squad shot 0-for-15 from three-point area.
The import then proceeded to praise Alaska for its defensive effort, holding Ginebra down to the lowest output of the conference.
“Again, I missed some key shots. If I made shots I normally make, we would have blown them out. But Alaska coach (Alex Compton) had a great game plan with Calvin (Abueva) helping him out,” he shared.
Asked about his match-up with Abueva, which might have gotten a bit too physical at times, Jeffers took it in jest.
“That’s basketball. But he’s a good player,” he said. “I am used to that. That is how we play at home (Chicago). It felt great. Refreshing.”
Ginebra continues to make good strides in the league under the tutelage of Tim Cone. Jeffers knows that, but he and the entire team are also wary they cannot skip steps in this process.
Still, it is impossible to deny the progress the crowd darlings have shown.