After poor start, Ginebra ‘peaking at the right time’ heading to semis
Barangay Ginebra wasn’t the image of success at the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, but all those failures seem to have dissipated by now as the Gin Kings are on a roll heading into the semifinals.
Starting the conference on a 1-5 slump, the Gin Kings are now running a seven-game winning streak at the end of the quarterfinals.
And this type of momentum just happened at the opportune time as LA Tenorio and the rest of Gin Kings scored a quick sweep of Meralco in the quarterfinals.
“The way we’re playing right now, I can say we’re peaking at the right time,” said Tenorio in Filipino after their 104-90 win over the Bolts in Game 2 Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“At the start, I know we started flat because of the changing of the imports. Justin [Brownlee] came off a stint in the other league so he wasn’t rested.”
Ginebra started the Commissioner’s Cup with Charles Garcia but eventually tapped Brownlee, who had led Alab Pilipinas to the ASEAN Basketball League title, four games into the conference.
Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone echoed Tenorio’s words but warned that Ginebra can’t afford to have a day off especially in this crucial stretch of the playoffs.
“When you have momentum, that’s when you got to push hard and go at it,” said Cone. “It’s when you’re in a losing streak when you need to step back and go look at what’s going on. You need to step back and take a day off and get a good perspective on what’s going on.”
Another saving grace during Ginebra’s transformation was the more than two-week long break by the league to give way to the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Injured players like Greg Slaughter, who was suffering from a bum ankle, and Sol Mercado, who was nursing a bruised rib, got time to recover.
Veteran shooter Jeff Chan was also acquired during the break.
“We had a long break and that helped us sharpen our system and that was a big factor,” said Tenorio who had 11 points and five assists. “I hope that our peak form is better than what we’re experiencing right now. We’re not at the top of the mountain, we’re still climbing up.”
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