Barangay Ginebra almost stole a win Sunday against Globalport but fell, 89-85. In the end, players rued the lack of defensive effort at the beginning, causing Ginebra to play catch-up for most of the game.
“We are just not playing defense consistently the way we want to play,” Sol Mercado, who scored 11 points including three long-range shots, said.
Ginebra trailed by 13 after the first quarter, 33-20, as Globalport’s Brian Williams and Terrence Romeo combined for 21 points right off the bat.
The Batang Pier maintained distance, pouring 56 first half points, before Ginebra finally buckled down to work by limiting their foes to just 14 in the third period.
“The first quarter they had (33) points. That is not our style. We kind of want to get that out of our image. That’s not us. The second half, we played our defense. We have to get to a point where we have to play consistently for 48 minutes,” Mercado shared.
Greg Slaughter, who came back from measles, has the same thoughts about Ginebra’s 0-2 start, saying the team should focus on having that defensive identity first and everything else will fall into place.
“We just need to stick to our game plan and execute. We have to be a defensive team first. With coach team, everyone is like, triangle, triangle, but he will tell you himself we have to be a defense-first team,” Slaughter said.
“Digging that hole in the first half kind of hurt us. But it’s just the second game. I have to do my part, get back in shape and help the team, and hopefully we can get this thing going.”
Still, Slaughter was thankful for the trust the team has given him in spite of being off for two weeks. He logged more than 26 minutes and had 20 points on 50 percent shooting, while also hauling down seven rebounds.
“He just had the confidence in me and I am thankful just having a coach like that to encourage. The only way I can get back is do it. Fortunately we got another week before our next game and hopefully I can get back to my shape,” Slaughter said of head coach Tim Cone.
Mercado added: “Greg is pretty much the cornerstone of what we do. Glad he came back. He has not practiced for two weeks and he already helped us in this game.”
Despite a 0-2 record, Ginebra will have a week’s worth of break, and the team looks forward to using it to reincorporate Slaughter back into the system and become a better unit.
“At the end we will be there. We are a team that gets better and better and we will learn from those mistakes. We are just not closing our games, we have to get better at that (as well). We have a week (off) and hopefully he (Slaughter) gets his legs to run and get his rhythm going, and get this thing moving forward,” Mercado said.
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