San Mig Coffee's James Yap (18) drives to the basket against Ginebra's Greg Slaughter (20). Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – San Mig head coach Tim Cone breathed a sigh of relief after the Coffee Mixers finally played up to par and defeated the league-leading Barangay Ginebra Kings, 83-79, in their PBA Philippine Cup game at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
The Coffee Mixers have been mostly mediocre so far in the conference, but finally showed their class in Sunday’s game to clinch only their fourth win of the Philippine Cup and create a five-way tie for fifth place.
“The game gave us a little bit of life,” Cone told PBA.ph after the game. “It kept us alive in the conference and making the top six, and at the very worse, the top eight.”
“We had to stay alive this conference, and it was really a must-win,” he said.
Cone still rued the fact that they did not play that way for the entire conference.
“That’s what we’re looking for and searching for the whole conference,” said Cone. “We could have played this well the whole conference, but as they say, better late than never.”
San Mig got 16 points from Mark Barroca and 15 from PJ Simon, while Marc Pingris and James Yap each fired 12 points. “We got contributions from everybody,” noted Cone.
The Coffee Mixers led by as much as 18 points in the first half before Japeth Aguilar sparked a Ginebra rally in the third period. The Kings briefly took a 68-67 lead in the final quarter before Barroca and Pingris spearheaded San Mig’s final charge.
“It’s been a tough road for us, and it’s really been more 80% mental and 20% physical,” said Cone.
“It’s just getting our minds on the right path, forward-looking, and staying in the moment,” he added.
Cone said the win against Ginebra went a long way in rebuilding the confidence of the San Mig squad, especially after the negativity of the past few weeks.
“We have beaten ourselves up in the past few games and in the past few weeks,” he said. “A lot of negativity got put behind us.”
“We got to our things early, which built our confidence, and today, we pulled out a win against a good Ginebra squad.”