Brgy. Ginebra head coach Tim Cone stressed that the decision to rest the team’s key players during the game against defending champion San Miguel proved to be the ‘right call’ after the Gin Kings demolished Terra Firma by 22 points the following day.
The Gin Kings’ loss to the Beermen was heavily criticized by the team’s fanbase who branded it as ‘Sagip Kapamilya’ since the Leo Austria-mentored squad badly needed a win to keep its hopes of making it into the next round in tact.
“We made [the decision] early and, as it turned out, if I may say now, it’s the right call,” said Cone shortly after the win over the lowly Dyip. “We are the number one seed. We are where we wanted to be – go into the playoffs healthy and fresh and we have a shot at it.”
The two-time Grand Slam-winning mentor explained that it would too risky to go all out against the Beermen since the team was scheduled to square-off with the Dyip the very next day. All the team needed was a win to formally clinch the number one seed in the quarterfinal round.
“I’ll be kicking myself really, really badly right now if I had to try to come back and used our guys and our top players, wore them out, and lost today. Again, we needed one win and I felt and the coaching staff felt that we are not going to get a shot at winning the game [against San Miguel],” said Cone.
“Remember, San Miguel was coming off a blowout loss. We knew that they will come out hard and we’re coming off a tough game with Talk ‘N Text and we weren’t mentally ready for to play that basketball game,” he added.
The 62-year old former Gilas Pilipinas coach admitted that he felt his key players were not mentally prepared for the SMB game so he turned to his reserves to finish the match.
“And again, that’s on me. I have to get our guys mentally ready. I was hoping that they were mentally ready. But they weren’t and I have to make that decision. It was a difficult decision. It’s a decision I’ve made multiple times in my career and it seems like every time I make that decision that way, I’ve been hit on it.”