COACH Jeffrey Cariaso said the close loss Barangay Ginebra suffered at the hands of expansion team Kia Motors is a good warm up for the team before it takes on visiting Korean ballclub LG Sakers next Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We just want to get a game under our belt before we play Korea,” said Cariaso, unmindful even if the Kings went down against the Sorento, 73-71, in their tune-up match over the weekend at the CCF gym.
The soft-spoken Ginebra coach stressed the chance to play a top-tier Korean squad is hard to pass up since he knows the Kings will learn a lot from them and help them prepare for the coming 40th season of the PBA.
“This (Sakers game) is not gonna be easy. I think we’ll be able to learn from, that’s our purpose, so I accepted the game without even question. That even if it’s this early because no matter what happens, you get an opportunity to help you, regardless of what the score is, we’re gonna get better,” said Cariaso.
The game against Kia gave Ginebra players the chance to get a feel of the game again after starting to train together again three weeks ago.
“It’s one of those things, no excuses. They (Kia) hit all the shots, we couldn’t hit ours, but this is just our third week,” Cariaso said.
Ginebra played without key starters LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, who are with the Gilas Pilipinas team in the Fiba World Cup in Spain.
Cariaso said the team is still far from where he wants it to be since he’s still breaking down plays on both offense and defense this offseason.
“Actually, we’re breaking down both offense and defense, breaking down all the passes, our routes, we’re breaking it down. We hardly even go up and down, so that’s the stage where we’re in,” explained Cariaso, who turns 42 next Friday.
Without Tenorio and Aguilar, Cariaso still have tons of offensive weapons at his disposal, from last season’s Rookie f the Year Greg Slaughter, to veterans Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and high-flying Chris Ellis, to new acquisition Joseph Yeo, who debuted with 11 points in the loss against Kia.