THE arrival of Tim Cone at Barangay Ginebra hardly poses a threat to San Miguel Beer players.
While acknowledging the Gin Kings will definitely improve with the PBA’s most successful coach now at the helm, the Beermen stars are in unison in believing their sister squad won’t be a hindrance in their daunting bid for a grand slam next season.
“Pwede (silang lumakas), kasi si coach Tim experienced na at marami ng championship,” Arwind Santos said. (‘Yun ang dahilan kung bakit siya napunta ‘dun) dahil marami ng coach ang humawak ng team na ‘yun pero hindi napa-angat.
“Pero basta kami, kahit sino kalaban namin, ise-set namin yung mind namin sa grand slam,” the star forward was quick to add. “Gagawin namin ‘yun.”
June Mar Fajardo is also confident of their chances, hardly expressing concern over the Gin Kings’ coaching upgrade.
“Hindi naman masyado (worried),” the back-to-back league MVP said. “Alam nating magaling si coach Tim. Magandang challenge ‘yun para sa’min.
“Pero tiwala naman ako sa team at tiwala naman ako kay coach,” Fajardo added.
Santos said he understands why the Gin Kings — and the rest of the field — are making changes, considering the league’s most popular team hasn’t won a championship since 2008.
The same cannot be said of the Beermen, who won two titles the past season to reestablish their status as the league’s most successful team.
“Kami, kung ano meron kami, kuntento na kami,” Santos said. “Aalagaan lang namin at palalakasin namin.”
But Beermen coach Leo Austria is reminding his wards not to be overconfident, believing Ginebra is a strong contender.
“It’s a matter of time (before the Gin Kings become a threat), but they are always a threat samin that’s why we cannot rest on our laurels yet,” Austria said. “The only way na tatalunin ka ng mga team is if you’re not prepared.”