BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone has come to accept the team’s busy PBA Philippine Cup schedule that includes three out-of-town games.
Following their win over Columbian on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City, the Kings are set to travel once more to Digos City for the game against Blackwater next Saturday before capping their road games against NLEX on March 23 in Angeles City.
If you count games held in Antipolo City, Ginebra will actually be playing five matches outside Metro Manila in the elimination round of the season-opening conference.
Cone said it is natural for the league to bring Ginebra to out-of-town games being the most popular team in the country.
“Ginebra has always been a great out-of-town team because they have the crowd,” said Cone, whose team has played in Calasiao, Pangasinan two weeks ago. “If you are a promoter, you are promoting the game, and you want people to watch, you want Ginebra to go to you.”
“I understand the PBA is under pressure to put us out there in out-of-town games. It’s logical. Doesn’t mean we like it but it’s logical,” said Cone.
Cone admitted their recent schedule has been tough, playing once a week, all outside Metro Manila.
“It’s been a tough schedule. We only play once a week. The practices are getting a little stale. It’s hard to keep the energy going. And then, we have to go out and travel,” said Cone.
Citing their recent trip to Calasiao as an example, Cone said: “It’s not so much the game, the plane and the game, it’s the game after that is tough. Travelling wears you out. Pangasinan, four hours up, four-and-a-half hours back, and you get home, two in the morning.
"So imagine NBA teams do that all the time. We are lucky we do that only a few times in a year. It seems like we are doing a lot more this year. We are going to Angeles also, playing here (Ynares Center) twice, now Davao."
For the Digos trip, Cone said the Kings will be staying in Davao City before taking a two-hour trip to, incidentally, the hometown of Ginebra player Scottie Thompson.
“You are staying in Davao, you have to go up there to practice and back, you have to go back and the next day, you go back for the game,” said Cone.
Cone though is not complaining.
“It’s a tough road for us. We are Ginebra. Where we go, the fans go. They need us around. We understand that and we accept it. That doesn’t make it easy for us. We accept it and accept the challenge of it,” said Cone.
The Digos trip, however, will be Ginebra’s last game before the league takes a respite for the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers. Cone said the Kings will be taking extra days in Davao for a team-building session, something they were unable to do in the short offseason.
“But it is fun to go out of town. It creates chemistry though at times. I think in Digos, after Davao, we are going to stay there for a couple of days and do some team building. That gives us an opportunity to do that. We are staying two extra days,” said Cone.
Cone said a schedule is something the team has no control of. So might as well make the most of it.
“I always tell our players and myself so I don’t get bothered by it. Control things we control. We can’t control the schedule,” said Cone.