Grand slam champion Purefoods Star began the 40th season playing without Marc Pingris, wound up losing Ian Sangalang for six to eight months due to an ACL injury, and played the last two games without star forward James Yap. But that’s not an excuse for a talent-laden squad like the Hotshots to underachieve.
“We don’t have James and Ian in the line up, but that’s not an excuse for a team that is as deep and as experienced as we are,” Purefoods Star coach Tim Cone told sportswriters after the game.
“Injuries aren’t an excuse for us.”
The Hotshots struggled to get their game going and needed to battle back from an 18-point deficit before edging out a win against the GlobalPort Batang Pier. According to Cone, players have become more comfortable with each other regardless of winning or losing. The multi-titled coach explained the good and bad sides of such behavior.
“We have great chemistry in our team. It’s a little bit of comfortability that’s going on. We don’t point fingers at each other each time we lose and that’s a big part of our success but also can be a part of our down fall,” added Cone. “Because we are so relaxed, so comfortable and we became kampante. We needed something to shake us up. We’ve got to figure out when to shake ourselves right now.”
Following a dismal first half, Cone stormed at the team’s locker room and gave his players an earful.“At halftime, I was screaming, ‘When is last year going to end?’ We’ve got to go beyond last season. We had a real difficulty doing this,” said Cone. The players responded and took Cone’s words as a motivation.