Path set for Kings’ reign
Coach Tim Cone said Barangay Ginebra isn’t done yet collecting championship trophies. The man on top had something to say about how the pursuit for more glory should be done.
“I hope with this win, we’ll be humble and nice to everybody,” said San Miguel Corp. president and COO Ramon S. Ang in Filipino during the celebration of the team’s successful defense of the PBA Governors’ Cup Monday night at the SMC head office in Ortigas.
The Kings captured the season-ending crown in dramatic fashion, holding off a tough-fighting Meralco Bolts in an epic Game 7 at Philippine Arena—a coronation witnessed by a record 54,086-strong audience.
Moments after that thrilling 101-96 victory that capped a 4-3 series win, Cone made a promise to the fans of the country’s most popular basketball team.
“We’re not going to stop here, we have more championships to win,” he said.
San Miguel’s top honcho reminded the Kings to make sure they pursue their goal the right way. Ang is also thankful that after nearly a decade of drought, Cone was able to lead Ginebra to back-to-back titles against a worthy adversary in Meralco.
“Ginebra waited for a championship for eight years. [Then] we won last year. And this year, even up to the final minute, we didn’t know if we could repeat. But we’re thankful that we were able to win back-to-back,” he said.
In the basketball sense, Cone also has ideas as to how the Kings plan to add to their trophy case.
On top of his list: Maximize the strengths of Greg Slaughter and minimize the negative impact brought about by teams running small lineups against the 7-footer.
“I feel like I haven’t exploited him yet,” Cone explained.
Barangay Ginebra also managed to snare a promising talent in the draft by tabbing former UP gunner Jett Manuel with the 12th pick overall. The Kings hope Manuel can be groomed into a replacement for Jayjay Helterbrand, who announced his retirement.
San Miguel sports director Alfrancis Chua also likewise thanked the fans who trooped to the games and endlessly supported the crowd favorites.
“This celebration is for all of you, for the ka-barangay,” the Ginebra team governor said as he led the ceremonial toast.
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