If Barangay Ginebra wants to get back on the winning track, the team should start playing defense. That’s how head coach Jeff Cariaso summed up the team’s three losses in a row as the Gin Kings forgot to make stops.
“We can’t find our defense,” Cariaso told media after the game. “Right now, nawawala siya.”
The Gin Kings showed a lack of effort in containing Terrence Romeo, who torched his opponents for 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting while Anthony Semerad contributed 17 for the Batang Pier, who rewarded interim coach Eric Gonzales a victory in his coaching debut.
According to Cariaso, defense has been a big part of the Gin Kings’ success in the early goings of the tournament. The team is still learning the ropes of the complicated triangle offense, allowing players to run a more free-flowing style of basketball by taking advantage of transition plays.
But defense has been missing, resulting in the team’s three straight losses.
“What made us successful earlier in the conference [was] our defense and we can’t seem to find that, I don’t know what happened,” said Cariaso. “We had a game plan on how to defend the isolation plays of GlobalPort’s guards, but they were making the shots all night. You have to give credit where credit is due. They hit their shots.”
Cariaso believes the team is still in the process of birth pains, but he wants to fast track the squad’s maturity with only two games left in the elimination round.
At 5-4, the Gin Kings are tied for fifth to sixth places with sister team Purefoods Star Hotshots and they want to improve their ranking further.
“Right now, there’s no way to go but up, so hopefully we are mature enough to understand there’s still two games and we’ll build from that,” added Cariaso.