MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone took full responsibility after the Gin Kings were ousted in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals by TNT Tropang GIGA on Wednesday night.
Ginebra, the defending All-Filipino champions, entered the conference as one of the favorites. They had bolstered their roster in the offseason, acquiring former Best Player of the Conference Christian Standhardinger in exchange from NorthPort in exchange for Greg Slaughter.
But the Gin Kings' campaign never quite got off the ground. They lost two of their first three games and managed only a 4-7 win-loss record in the elimination round. Ginebra needed to beat Phoenix Super LPG in a playoff just to sneak into the quarterfinals as the eighth seed.
"I can't find the words to express our sorrow and embarrassment over our performance in the bubble," Cone said on Twitter on Thursday morning, after the Gin Kings absorbed an 84-71 defeat to top-seeded TNT.
Ginebra needed to beat the Tropang GIGA twice to make it to the semifinals. They were competitive at the start, even leading, 21-17, after the first frame. But TNT dominated the second and third quarters to break the game open, and the Gin Kings couldn't rally in the fourth.
The Gin Kings were undermanned against TNT, as they played without All-Star center Japeth Aguilar (knee) and versatile guard Scottie Thompson (health and safety protocol).
But Cone stressed that this was not an excuse. Before their game against the Tropang GIGA, he said the Gin Kings were "in good spirits and ready to play."
"We didn't live up to the Ginebra legacy, and that was totally my fault," Cone said. "I apologize to the Ginebra nation."
Cone has steered Ginebra to five championships since arriving in 2015, and he vowed that the team will bounce back after their disappointing campaign in the conference.
"All I can say is that it won't happen again as long as I am the coach," he said.