BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone is steadfast in his belief that his team can have long, sustained success in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a small import.
The Gin Kings gained confidence after barging into the win column with a 103-92 rout of Rain or Shine on Sunday behind the smallest among reinforcements in Othyus Jeffers, who was officially measured at 6’2” 3/4.
The NBA veteran is also expected to be Ginebra's import in the Governors' Cup.
“We’re putting the responsibility on Greg (Slaughter) and Japeth (Aguilar) to play the big man role for us,” Cone said. “They’re the ones who have to compete with the other imports.”
The Gin Kings, though, had little problem in the paint on Sunday when they faced an Elasto Painters side that featured a replacement import in Antoine Wright, who thrived in the wings.
Ginebra should have its hands full against teams with bigger imports, but Cone insisted the team won't abandon its plan to go through the midseason tournament with a small import like Jeffers.
“We had a guy who played more outside,” Cone admitted. “But still, we just got to keep proving to ourselves that this is the way we chose to play and we got to do everything we can to make it successful.”
“We’re not going to change it,” the champion coach added. “That’s the way we’re going to be and that’s the way we’re going to go.”
Despite his handicap, Jeffers has been standing tall, with the latest evidence coming on Sunday when he overcame back spasms to register 38 points and 20 boards.
Slaughter added 16 points and 14 boards in his second game back from a bout with measles, while Aguilar chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.
“We’re playing with good effort,” Cone said. “I can’t complain about our effort.”
“(But) we’re still in the stage where we’re trying to break habits and build new habits,” he added. “It’s mostly little things on defense.”