PBA: After 2-0 start, Ginebra coach Tim Cone laments condensed schedule
MANILA, Philippines—While Ginebra is off to an unblemished start in the PBA Governors’ Cup just a few weeks after winning a title, coach Tim Cone admitted it hasn’t been easy at all.
Cone said they are facing “pitfalls” after winning the Commissioners’ Cup last month, being the last team to debut in the season-ending tournament and needing to play a compressed schedule.
“That’s some of the pitfalls of winning a championship. Being champions is great but right after, there are pitfalls. One of them is the condensed schedule that we have,” Cone said after Ginebra’s 114-111 win over NLEX at Araneta Coliseum.
“The schedule is really condensed for us and it’s really a tough thing, we’re going to have to try to overcome it. That and we’d have to face teams with a rhythm already,” he added.
Prior to Wednesday’s marquee matchup, the Road Warriors rode a four-game winning streak while Ginebra has only played one game.
The Gin Kings started the season-ending conference late due to playing a seven-game series against the Bay Area Dragons where they won, 4-3.
When the Tim Cone-mentored squad played their first Governors’ Cup game against Rain or Shine on Sunday, where they won, 116-108, most of the teams have already played four or five games.
Rust may not be a factor for the reigning Commissioners’ Cup champions, but the idea of scouting and preparing for teams has been their weakness—especially with the sixth window of the Fiba Asia Qualifiers just around the corner.
“We started Sunday, then we played again on Friday and Sunday, then there’s the Gilas practice. Most of our star players are in the Gilas team. They’ll finish the games on the 27th and right after, they play Sunday, Wednesday and Friday again,” Cone said.
The Gin Kings have four players included in Pilipinas’s pool, namely Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, PBA All-Star vote leader Japeth Aguilar and naturalized center Justin Brownlee.
Gilas will be taking on Lebanon and Saudi Arabia on the 24th and 27th, respectively, all happening at Philippine Arena.
Against the Road Warriors, Cone said preparing for the Frankie Lim-coached troop was no easy feat despite their new look after former import Jonathon Simmons’s departure to China.
“It’s a really tough thing to play against a team that’s been playing as well as they have. We did not know their import at all too, not being able to plan or see his strengths and weaknesses. That was really difficult but again, this is what happens when you win a championship.”
New import Wayne Selden may not have started out like Simmons did, but the former NBA player tallied 43 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
When asked if there are other teams they see as a threat like NLEX, Cone answered without specifying any teams, explaining that everyone was capable of one-upping them in the tourney.
“There’s a lot of them [threats] and one of them is tonight.”