TIM Cone admitted being liable for not preparing Barangay Ginebra well before its 99-91 loss to defending champion San Miguel Beer in their early PBA Philippine Cup showdown on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
As expected, the Beermen came out firing on all cylinders against the Kings following their stunning 124-118 upset at the hands of Columbian Dyip during their season debut on Friday.
Yet the Kings didn’t really respond until the fourth quarter when they found themselves already faced with a mountain to climb.
They tried to make a game of it, but the effort just fell short in the end.
Cone said he had no one to blame but himself.
“We should have been better prepared and that’s on me,” said the Ginebra coach, who was among the last to come out of the team dugout – a practice that is unusual for Cone after every Kings loss.
“We knew they’re going to come out with great force after their loss and we needed to max that and we didn’t, so I’m very disappointed with our effort especially early in the game.”
The Kings battled the Beermen on even terms during the first quarter, but were outplayed in the second period as the Christian Standhardinger, June Mar Fajardo, and Kelly Nabong dominated inside.
The three-time reigning champions then stepped on the gas in the second half as Chris Ross and Von Pessumal began to hit their outside shots, eventually giving the Beermen their biggest lead of the game, 76-53.
“We weren’t doing anything we needed to do and they’re getting everything they wanted,” Cone pointed out.
Then came the fourth quarter rally.
With rookie TeyTey Teodoro serving as a spark off the bench, the Kings made their comeback and threatened at 89-94 with 1:28 left on back-to-back treys by LA Tenorio.
But Marcio Lassiter hit his fourth three-pointer of the night to pour cold water on Ginebra’s rally and made it an eight-point San Miguel lead.
San Miguel shot a hot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc (15-of-35), although Ginebra didn’t do badly either at 40.7 percent (11-of-27).
The Kings actually clobbered the Beermen off the boards, 54-38, but had less assists. 18-24, and committed more turnovers, 22-13.
While Cone did commend the team for its late run, he said the Kings just didn’t play up to their potential.
“It’s good to see a comeback like that, but they pretty much dominated us the whole game,” said the Ginebra coach, whose team tied the Beermen in the standings with an even 1-1 card.
“Yeah, we like the way we came back, but we don’t like the way we played overall.”