Cone criticizes Ginebra for 'championship hangover'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2017 06:11 PM | Updated as of Apr 06 2017 07:06 PM

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone gives instructions to Sol Mercado and Kevin Ferrer. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra head coach Tim Cone on Wednesday expressed his disappointment at the Gin Kings' performance against the GlobalPort Batang Pier, even if they did come away with their first victory of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

Ginebra needed a 20-point third quarter from import Justin Brownlee to overcome a flat start and take a 113-96 win. After the game, Cone noted that it marked the first time in the conference that they played with any rhythm and a good level of activity.

"Activity level has really been the key," he explained. "We just have not been active over these last two games, until that third quarter. We lacked it out of town when we were in Davao, and I was disappointed at halftime."

"We looked slow and tentative," Cone observed. "It looked like we had a championship hangover, without winning a championship."

That is bad for Ginebra, said the multi-titled mentor. "You're only allowed championship hangovers when you win a championship, and not when you don't win," he stressed.

Ginebra was coming off a loss to San Miguel Beer in the Finals of the PBA Philippine Cup, and they had a long layoff in between conferences. 

But to Cone, this is no excuse and he feels that a lot of the Gin Kings' problems come down to a lack of focus and concentration.

"I wish I could point to one thing and say this is what we need to get better. But it just seems like we're missing out on so many things that we're supposed to be doing, but we're not doing," he said.

"It really comes down to the fact that we need better focus, and better concentration on what we're doing. We're playing very loose and at times, very lackadaisical basketball, and you cannot do that in the PBA," Cone stressed.

They cannot afford to give less than 100% effort every game, Cone added, because they are getting the best games out of every team that they play. For example, when they played Phoenix in Davao last weekend, Matthew Wright broke out of a slump and torched them for 27 points.

"If we're not playing at a high level every night, and with great focus and concentration, then we have no chance to win," Cone warned.

He expects that the Gin Kings will come around and start playing at a higher level soon. They will be tested on Sunday, when they take on an unbeaten Star Hotshots team for the first Manila Clasico of the Commissioner's Cup.

"We can't be satisfied with how we're playing right now," said Cone.

"I'm not satisfied. I'm not satisfied with our play by any means. We gotta be a lot better, especially against Star. We're gonna have to play a much better game to stay in the game with them," he stressed.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.