How unlucky can Ginebra get | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

How unlucky can Ginebra get

/ 01:23 AM January 30, 2014

Nothing symphonic in San Mig Coffee’s cliff-hanger win over Ginebra on Tuesday, but woe to those who would buy coach Tim Cone’s song which said it was all a product of luck.

Swooned Cone: “The game could’ve gone either way. It’s better to be lucky than good, but I’ll take lucky every once in a while.”

Nicely put, but the truth is that Cone did the tighter orchestrating in the chaotic homestretch to trip the  stronger rival squad.


* * *


Down by eight points entering the final quarter, San Mig spurted with back-to-back triples by Yancy de Ocampo and neophyte Justin Melton to lead, 80-75.

LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa came back with quick counters—a couple of fleeting baskets each—as the match hit its most indecisive point going into the final two minutes.

There was another exchange of blitz offensive, to be capped by Mark Barroca’s victory shot with 11.6 left;  but Cone later claimed they were just lucky to have put a finger on a Ginebra final inbound that ultimately led to the winning attempt.

* * *

Cone did not say it but he seemed ready to explain they just happened to be at the right place at the most suspenseful point in the tight finish.

OK, there’s no questioning the grit and determination of both Ginebra and San Mig.


Ginebra, richly favored at the start of the best-of-7 semifinals, is definitely the stronger, bigger side.

* * *

But after what should be considered a reversal of sorts, it cannot be denied that San Mig prevailed because it was better honed, and better coached, too.

Who knows? Maybe Ginebra, with all the burning hopes and expectations of its legion of fans, had worked and prepared much harder.

But, there must be something deeper that had left the Gin Kings often attempting from a low-percentage groove, mainly in the homestretch.

* * *

No, there was no feasting for San Mig from the perimeter either; however, they were able to maneuver properly for sharper, high-percentage baskets.

Ditto in the battle around the paint. While Gin diehards were quick to point to the presence of the the vastly improved Japeth Aquilar and seven-footer Greg Slaughter to ably pillar for Ginebra, the so-called twin towers were visibly contained by a shorter but more muscular trio on the San Mig side.

Admitted Cone: “I kind of went out of my coaching style today, because I usually 90 to 95 per cent of the time bring back all my starters in the fourth quarter.”

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That said, it would be best for coach Ato Agustin not to believe that San Mig just happened to be luckier on Tuesday night.

TAGS: Ato Agustin, Ginebra Kings, PBA, PBA Philippine Cup, San Mig Coffee Mixers, Sports, Tim Cone

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