Brgy. Ginebra suffered an ’embarrassing’ defeat in the series opener of the team’s best-of-five semifinal affair with NorthPort.
With the game happening just three days after Gin Kings-bannered Gilas Pilipinas delivered the Men’s 5×5 basketball gold in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Tim Cone mentored squad proved to be no match against the giant-slaying ways of the 8th-seeded Batang Pier who earlier in the conference ousted the top-seeded NLEX Road Warriors.
“It was a very ugly performance. It was embarrassing. They wanted it more than we did and it’s one of the worst first games I’ve ever been involved with on this side,” said Cone who together with assistants Richard Del Rosario, Freddie Abuda, Kirk Collier and veteran forward Joe Devance were part of the coaching staff of the national team in the recently concluded biennial meet.
Stanley Pringle, who along with LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter were part of the gold medal-winning team, was the only local who had a significant performance as the 32-year old Fil-Am poured in 21 points against his former team to backstop the ever reliable Justin Brownlee who delivered 24 points and hauled down 19 rebounds in the 34-point loss.
Cone, however, refused to blame fatigue as the culprit for the lopsided defeat.
“No, I just think the lack of preparation did. We didn’t prepare as well as we could have, but they had their guy missing, too, but we had most of our coaching staff, wasn’t ready. They surprised us with their zone. We didn’t handle the zone well. They changed the defenses up, did a really good job, came in with a good game plan,” explained Cone who was celebrating his 62nd birthday that day.
The Gin Kings hope to even the series when the two teams clash again on Monday, December 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.