MANILA, Philippines – LA Tenorio pointed to a lack of focus and a difficult schedule as two contributing factors in Ginebra's listless performance against the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the 2016-17 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday.
The Gin Kings, who were coming off an impressive win over Rain or Shine last week, were flat to start the game and had no answer for Terrence Romeo in the fourth quarter. The Batang Pier came away with a 91-84 victory that hiked their record to 3-1, while Ginebra dropped to 1-2 in the conference.
The Gin Kings struggled on both ends of the floor. Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, with 23 points each, were the only Ginebra players in double-digits. On the other end, they gave up a whopping 35 points to Romeo.
"We were not that focused coming into this game," Tenorio later admitted. "I think 'yun lang ang naging problema."
[That's the problem.]
"Alam naman na anytime, they can come out like that, especially the guards of GlobalPort. Wala eh, start pa lang ng game, parang medyo malayo na talaga. So kulang kami sa focus, especially on defense," he added.
[We know that anytime, they can come out like that, especially their guards. At the start of the game, they already pulled away. We lacked focus especially on defense.]
Tenorio could not directly explain the cause of their lack of focus, only saying it's up to the players to solve the issue. That problem is compounded by their schedule, which has seen the defending Governors' Cup champions play only once a week, usually on Sundays.
Instead of being an advantage, the week-long gap between games has become more of bane to the Gin Kings as it prevents them from building any kind of momentum.
"Yun ang challenge sa amin, kasi every week ang game namin. So we really have to come out strong every game, knowing na ganoon ang schedule namin, para makakuha kami ng momentum," he said.
[That's the challenge for us. Because we play once a week, we have to come out strong every game so we can build momentum]
"It's hard to get momentum kapag galing ka sa talo, 'di ba? Kaya kailangan, every game ibigay namin lahat para manalo kami. Pahinga naman the whole week eh," Tenorio pointed out.
[It's hard to build momentum coming off a loss. So every game, we need to give our 100% so we'll win.]
"Sana, maapektuhan in a positive way, not in a negative way. Instead of nagpa-progress kami, parang every week, buamaba pa 'yung focus level at intensity level namin."
[Hopefully, the week-long break will affect us in a positive way, not in a negative way. But instead of making progress, it's as if every week, our focus level and intensity level go down.]
For the veteran point guard, who added eight assists and five rebounds to his stat-line, the Gin Kings need to have a sense of urgency and play with much better focus in order to execute on both ends.
"Knowing na ang schedule namin ay every week, kailangan start pa lang, ibuhos na namin lahat. Kailangan ma-realize namin na ganoon nga. Hopefully, ma-overcome namin itong ganitong klase na, talo, panalo, talo," he said.
"Hindi pwedeng ganoon eh. Kailangan, makakuha kami ng momentum," he stressed.
[Knowing what our schedule is like, we need to pour it on even during the beginning of games. Hopefully, we can overcome this where we alternate wins and losses. We need to build momentum.]
Ginebra' schedule will normalize in the next week, as they play Mahindra on Friday, take a one-day break before returning to action against Alaska on Sunday. They get another week-long rest after that, then play the Star Hotshots in the Manila Clasico on Christmas Day.
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