IT’S going to be a long offseason for Barangay Ginebra.
Rookie coach Jeffrey Cariaso said he is looking forward to the season break to have more time to work with the Kings as they try to regroup and come out a better team in time for the 40th season of the PBA this October.
“This (long offseason) is something I look forward to, a time to really develop the guys, improve their familiarity with the triangle (offense) and just be able to work on the bigs and work on the smalls, give them my full attention,” said Cariaso a day after the team bowed out of the season-ending Governors Cup following a 92-81 loss to Alaska in the quarterfinals.
The Kings ended the conference with an even 5-5 (win-loss) record under Cariaso, who barely had two weeks to work with the team before the opening of the conference after taking over from Ato Agustin.
Despite the team falling short of its goal of reaching the semifinals, the freshman coach said he is happy with the effort his players showed throughout the tournament.
“With the time we’ve been together, I’m happy with how the guys played because every night, they gave their best,” he said.
What saddens him, though, was the lack of preparation the Kings had, which reflected in some lapses the team had towards the final stretches of the eliminations.
Playing in what was considered a “hell week” that saw Ginebra play four games over seven days, the Kings went 1-3 during that stretch, dropping important games against Rain or Shine, Alaska, and Talk ‘N Text that denied them of an outright Top Four berth.
“I wanted to at least make the semis, and really, I wish I had my last two games back against Alaska and Talk ‘N Text,” he said.
“You we’re one win away, and be at Top Four, but it didn’t work out,” said the 41-year-old former Rookie of the Year awardee.
“Right now, I can say we’re just in the middle of the pack, though our team, we want to get to the elite group. I know we’ve taken steps toward that goal, and I’m happy for the guys to see them improving.”