PBA: Weary Ginebra ‘just didn’t have it’ in blowout loss to Magnolia, says Tim Cone
MANILA, Philippines—Sure, nothing has changed for Barangay Ginebra even after a 118-88 blowout at the hands of its sister team Magnolia on Sunday.
The Gin Kings are still the defending champions of the Governors’ Cup—winner of four of the last five editions of the tournament. And most importantly, they still have three victories against just a single defeat.
But Tim Cone wasn’t going to let all that trivia and his coaching pride get in the way of framing the loss as something else.
“It just turned into a really embarrassing night,” he said on the heels of the fancied duel at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“Tonight was truly our first (championship) hangover night. I mean, we just didn’t have it. I tried hard, we tried hard to get on them at halftime. (The players) came out with a little bit of fire to start a run, but we just couldn’t sustain it.”
Save for the first six minutes of the contest, Ginebra hardly found ways to match the enemy’s zest. They wound up losing in nearly every statistical contest of the game as well, except for second-chance points and blocks.
The Gin Kings also trailed by as many as 31 points in the game.
“I hate to admit this, but we really were a tired team tonight, and you can see it in our body language [and] our lack of activity. We just weren’t getting up and down the floor, we weren’t moving without the ball. The ball was moving slowly tonight, and we were late on all of our rotations,” Cone said of the loss which pushed the club to fifth in the race.
“It was a perfect storm: We were tired, and we played a team that was desperate and has found life with a new import, and just came out and they out-physicaled us and out-energized us,” he went on while ruing the densely-packed schedule his crew has been on since winning the Commissioner’s Cup.
It could be recalled that Ginebra is one of the three pro teams tapped to loan its stars to the national team that will be wrapping up its Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers campaign on February 24 and 27 at the cavernous Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Among those standouts is Justin Brownlee, who was held to just 22 points—also the most by any Gin King that night.
“I just want to give Magnolia a lot of credit. They played a great game. I don’t want to take anything away from their win. They deserved it, they played hard, and had a great game plan,” he said.
“For us, of course, we’re coming off a championship. We’ve had a lot of success and started off 3-0. [But] this loss, you know, it can be positive,” he added.
Like Brownlee, Cone also saw a silver lining in the stand.
“It was good to have Christian (Standhardinger) back tonight, and he played extended minutes so that was very encouraging. LA (Tenorio) played a bit of extended minutes tonight, too. So, hopefully, we’re getting a little bit healthy as we wait for Japeth (Aguilar) to return,” he said.
The resident Ginebra import also chimed in that the Magnolia loss should serve as a wake-up call for Ginebra as it girds for the heavyweights in the league.
Still on tap for the crowd darlings are San Miguel Beer, Meralco, Converge, and TNT—all of whom are currently in the top half of the race.
“Hopefully, we can gather ourselves from this loss, learn a lot and move forward. Understand that if we come out and play mediocre [basketball] and not mentally focused, this could also happen not only against Magnolia but a lot of teams,” Brownlee said.
“We have to make sure we’re ready to play all out,” he added.