Cone ‘angry’ at self but ‘proud’ of Gin Kings after semis exit
Ginebra coach Tim Cone said his team shouldn’t be ashamed after bowing out in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the hands of San Miguel.
“I’m real proud of our guys,” Cone said after the Gin Kings’ 94-100 defeat to the Beermen in Game 5 on Saturday.
Without Greg Slaughter, the Gin Kings gave the Beermen all it could handle in the hard-fought series.
“Despite not having Greg (Slaughter), I thought we did a great battle and one of the coaches said to me what would it be like if they didn’t have June Mar, how hard it would be for them. It was that way for us,” Cone said.
Save for the blowouts in Games 1 and 4, the Gin Kings were in the thick of the fight.
They squandered a 15-point lead in the first half and lost on a Marcio Lassiter game-winner in overtime, 104-102, in Game 2.
Ginebra recovered and took Game 3, 95-87, last Tuesday to avert the sweep.
With their backs against the wall, the Gin Kings once again threw everything but the kitchen sink in Game 5, leading by as much as 12 in the first half, 39-27, before San Miguel mounted a huge fightback to tie the game at 55 at halftime. Though they were still able to make one last run in the fourth quarter, the Beermen’s crisp execution and defensive prowess persevered in the end game.
“Coming back from our last game, they played real hard. But we just couldn’t finish the game,” remarked Cone.
Though the two-time Grand Slam-winning mentor was dejected after his team’s shortcomings, he did see some silver linings through the course of the series.
“Japeth (Aguilar) really stepped up. We got great performances from Prince (Caperal) and Raymond (Aguilar). Sol (Mercado) played real well tonight, and Scottie was just incredible all series long,” he said.
Like the gentleman that he is, Cone owned up for this failure and took responsibility for the semifinals exit.
Still, he sees this as a formative experience for his side, something which the young squad could build on for the coming conferences.
“I’m angry that I didn’t do enough for them, couldn’t win some of the games we should have won down the stretch. But you know, those things happen. So I’ll be angry at myself and I’ll be real proud of our guys,” he said.
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