BARANGAY Ginebra guards Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand felt the team quit early as evidenced by their lack of effort and hustle during Friday night’s 65-82 blowout loss to Rain or Shine in Game One of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinals series at the Big Dome.
“Yung sense of urgency ang kulang ng team eh. The whole game went wrong. It’s not just the third quarter. We lacked the energy. Parang di playoff game eh, they (Elasto painters) wanted the game more than we do,” said a dejected Helterbrand after emerging from the team’s dugout.
Caguioa, last season’s PBA MVP, blamed their quick slide in the second half on the Gin Kings’ failure to take care of the basketball. Ginebra turned the ball over 17 times, allowing Rain or Shine to score 17 fastbreak points.
“Iyung turnover was pretty big. Pagdating sa basketball, you got to limit your turnovers. With a team like Rain or Shine, that’s what they feed on,” said Caguioa, who led the Gin Kings with 16 points but went just four-of-13 from the floor.
Caguioa credited Rain or Shine’s brutal defense, which forced Barangay Ginebra to settle for a lot of jumpers from the perimeter.
Rain or Shine uncorked a blazing 18-0 run in the third period to take the fight out of Ginebra. The Gin Kings shot just 3-of-16 from beyond the three-point arc, while they only made 19-of-56 attempts from the two-point zone for only a 33.9 percent shooting clip.
“We’re down by 20 and we can’t do anything about it. We kept turning the ball over. They will score and we wouldn’t score. That’s the way it goes sometimes,” he added.
But while Rain or Shine will look to close out the series on Friday, Helterbrand expects the Gin Kings to bounce back due to their never-say-die spirit.
“I think we’re better when our backs are against the wall, we’ve proven that many times,” said the 36-year-old Ginebra playmaker.