PBA: Gearing up for playoffs, Ginebra hopes to be at high level vs Phoenix
MANILA, Philippines-Barangay Ginebra’s 100-93 victory over NorthPort on Sunday night sealed the Gin Kings’ place in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.
The crowd darlings are going to play a best-of-three quarterfinals against a yet-to-be-determined enemy, and coach Tim Cone—fresh from his NBA Summer League gig—is hoping to use its last remaining game to apply the finishing touches on his squad, ensuring that his charges are all primed and ready to go for the battles that matter.
“The Phoenix game will be a game we’ll use to ready for the playoffs,” he said in the post-game presser at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
“Anytime we want to get ready for the playoffs, we want to play at a high level. And there are certain things we’re gonna work and we’re gonna do them on a very high level.”
Ginebra battles 3-7 Phoenix this Thursday and there, Cone hopes to get a handful of veterans in shape as the Gin Kings kick their title-reclamation bid into higher gear.
“We won’t be concerned so much about the score as the quality of the game we’re gonna be playing. We’re gonna get some certain players ready,” he said.
“(Jared Dillinger) more ready because he has been hurt. Stanley (Pringle) to get more stuff. We threw him some more today and we saw glimpses of that. Hopefully, we can do that more and get him ready for the playoffs,” he went on.
The Phoenix game should also allow Ginebra to rest Japeth Aguilar, who has been playing with dengue fever, according to Cone.
It remains to be seen how much of an experiment Cone intends to make of that no-bearing game for the Gin Kings. He did, after all, hint at testing out some lessons he picked up during his brief time with the Miami Heat.
“I’ve been wrestling with this: How much do I bring to the team that’s new. And then how fast do I bring it in?” he said with a big grin on his face.
“If I bring it right away or just disrupt us before we go into the playoffs? Do I wait until afterward? These are things I’m wrestling with right now because I have been exposed to some new things and I certainly like to try some of them out.”
But with seven wins and its playoff position already beyond doubt, Ginebra actually has the luxury to do just that.