Cone concerned as Ginebra blows huge lead: ‘We have to respond better’
Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone froze for a moment then shook his head before he got up from his seat following his post-game interview on Saturday night.
Cone also had that look of concern, which was unusual for a winning coach.
He, however, has reasons to be worried about despite guiding the Gin Kings closer to another finals appearance.
Ginebra led by as much as 25 points in the first half and was even ahead by 20 entering the fourth quarter but Rain or Shine still managed to fight all the way back and came within a shot away from forcing overtime.
“We did not respond well and it is a concern,” Cone told reporters after Ginebra eked out a 75-72 win in Game 3 of their best-of-five-semifinals series.”We played on our heels playing not to lose the whole second half rather than staying aggressive and playing to win.
“They picked up the defense and picked up the physicality and we struggled with it and we gotta be smarter with that for Game 4,” he added. “If we don’t figure that one out, if we don’t come with a little bit more poise and a little bit more fight in us then they’re gonna come out and get Game 4 easy.”
The Elasto Painters had a couple of chances to extend the game into OT but James Yap’s two attempts from about 30 feet barely hit the rim as time expired.
“We really didn’t respond well to what happened in the second half and that’s on us, it’s not on the referees, not on them, it’s not on anybody but us,” Cone said.
“We have to respond better. It was just a tremendous comeback by Rain or Shine and like I said, we just held on by our fingernails.”
Rain or Shine emerged as the No. 1 team after the elimination round and Cone said it wasn’t by accident.
“You’re a win away but we’re coming out of this game with a lot of concerns. I keep saying it, I’m not sure anybody believes me but there’s an absolute reason they’re the No. 1 seed,” he said.
“They play down the stretch very well, they played close games throughout the conference and won all of them including three overtime games. They’re very poised, they’re a veteran team and their import Reggie Johnson is just a really smart, intelligent player. That’s the reason why they deserve the No. 1 seed. We know how good they are and we’re gonna have to battle.”
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