For Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone, the postponement of their highly-anticipated game against the Meralco Bolts last Sunday ended up working in the Gin Kings' favor.
Ginebra, the defending PBA Philippine Cup champions, was all set to take on Meralco in what would have been a rematch of last season's conference semifinals. The game was called off, however, in accordance with the PBA's health and safety protocols.
"I think the postponement actually helped us a little bit," Cone acknowledged on Wednesday night, after Ginebra fended off Rain or Shine, 83-77.
It was their first game since a 95-90 loss to TerraFirma on September 3 that Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson said was a "wake-up call" for the Gin Kings.
The postponement of their game against Meralco gave Ginebra more time to work on the errors they committed against the Dyip, which for Cone was something they very much needed.
"We made some radical adjustments to the way we've been playing," he explained. "It gave us that extra day to do that. And so, we ended up getting three practices, and that was crucial for us."
"So, we came in here a little comfortable on what we wanted to do and our plan. I thought we did that. We executed it really well in terms of our defense, and even our offense. I thought we did a good job tonight," he added.
The Gin Kings were threatened down the stretch against Rain or Shine, with Beau Belga scoring a layup that made it a one-point game, 75-74, with still 2:38 to go. But Ginebra responded with seven unanswered points, capped by a Thompson triple with 27 seconds left, to eke out the win.
Their defense held Rain or Shine to only 35% shooting, while on the other end they made 49% of their shots against one of the top defensive outfits in the league.
"We did what we wanted to do tonight. We kept the tempo of the way we wanted to play the game, and I thought that was the important part," said Cone. "We played the game the way we wanted to play it, and this is the first time this conference that I felt like we played the game and the tempo that we wanna play in."
The win against Rain or Shine improved Ginebra's record to 3-3, which Cone said is crucial especially as they are set to play San Miguel on Friday and TNT Tropang GIGA on Sunday.
"If we continue to play with this kind of effort and continue to grow together as a group, and continue to get Christan (Standhardinger) to grow with us, I think we can make some noise at the end of this conference," said Cone.