April 25, 2024

‘We would like to play better’: Gineba still groping for form, admits Tim Cone after escape act vs Blackwater

‘We would like to play better’: Gineba still groping for form, admits Tim Cone after escape act vs Blackwater

The Blackwater Bossing looked primed for a gigantic upset on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena. They were playing some of their best basketball in the first half against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, moving the ball like seasoned veterans and making it rain from three-point country.

Slowly but surely, though, Tim Cone’s wards started to chop down the Bossing, ultimately catching up in the third quarter led by timely buckets from new recruit Maverick Ahanmisi, import Tony Bishop, and holdovers Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar.

But every time Ginebra looked poised to break away, Blackwater kept fighting back—up until Chris Ortiz missed what would have been a game-tying three.

Ginebra escaped, 90-87, but it was, as Cone described in the postgame presser, “a struggle.”

“It was a struggle for us again tonight. In some ways these [games] are good for us because they’re tough guys and they toughen us up. We have to play well down the stretch, we have to defend well down the stretch,” Cone told the media after the game. “In that regard, it’s good for us, but we would like to play better. We would like to play better on both sides of the floor, and we will continue to battle for that.

Then again, Ginebra’s early conference struggles should be expected. The team, after all, is missing key pieces—Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, and Jeremiah Gray—while trying to integrate new ones.

“We got two guys in the starting lineup that are new to everything that we do, and that’s Mav (Ahanmisi) and Tony (Bishop). We’re still working to get everybody into a fit, but both Mav and Tony are playing brilliantly despite not knowing what they’re doing. Hopefully, they’ll get even better when they do know what they’re doing,” Cone added.

That may soon come for Ginebra. For now, though, Cone knows the challenges ahead will be daunting.

“We still need a lot to improve. At this point, we’ll take the W and keep moving forward,” he said.