MANILA, Philippines – The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings have had tremendous success over the past few conferences, even after they veered away from the triangle offense that is often the hallmark of a Tim Cone squad.
Instead, with Greg Slaughter lost to an injury since last season's Governor's Cup, the Gin Kings favored a faster style of play that featured few post-ups. It resulted in a title in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup, a Finals appearance in the 2017 Philippine Cup, and a semifinals finish in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Yet Ginebra – and Cone – will never abandon the triangle offense completely. Against GlobalPort on Sunday, they ran their old triangle sets once more, and it resulted in a 124-108 rout. Slaughter, now back from injury, came off the bench to score 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting to power the Gin Kings to their first win in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup.
The Gin Kings made "a lot of adjustments" after losing their first game of the conference to Meralco, according to Cone. The biggest of these was to return to the triangle offense, which allowed them to maximize Slaughter's advantages.
"The triangle is such a great post offense," Cone explained. "Our bigs need the ball, and they need to be in position. They need to get the ball down low and have an opportunity to score, and that's what the triangle is good at."
"It rewards the post guys."
While their fast-paced style led them to great success, Cone is convinced that revisiting the triangle offense is the right choice for Ginebra at this time.
"We went away from the triangle for a little bit because we didn't have Greg. But now, we have him, so the triangle is really better for us at this point," he said. "It really rewards Greg on the floor."
Cone knows the criticisms of the triangle, that it is considered as an "archaic or old offense," in his own words. Yet the multi-titled mentor also pointed out that the offense gives them versatility, as it allows him to mix-and-match his line-up.
Following their win over GlobalPort, the Ginebra veterans were pleased to get favorable results out of their triangle sets, with point guard LA Tenorio saying that they may lean on it again as the conference progresses.
"We have to play to our strengths, which is our big. If we get back to the triangle to be successful this conference, we will stick to that," said Tenorio.
However, Cone warned that it is just one game, and Ginebra still has to make adjustments. He noted that they have key players in the team now who have yet to master the famously intricate offense – including Brownlee, the hero of their run to the Governors' Cup title last season.
"Justin has never really run the triangle before," Cone said. "Since we've had him, we haven't run the triangle, so it was new for him to really delve into it deeply. Same goes for a lot of new guys now."
"Kevin (Ferrer) is brand new at it too, and he's been with Gilas for so long, so he hasn't had a chance to practice. That's one of the reasons he didn't play today," he added. "But we expect Kevin to be a big force in the triangle for us."
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