BARANGAY Ginebra slotman Jay-R Reyes refused to blame star teammate LA Tenorio for the Kings’ 76-79 Game Five loss to San Mig Coffee that left them on the brink of elimination in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.
Tenorio was the subject of scorn by cage fans after the premier playmaker -- with the Kings down by three in the waning seconds of the match -- decided to take a layup that missed its mark instead of passing to an open teammate for a three-pointer that could’ve sent the game into overtime.
San Mig star James Yap buried a cold-blooded three-pointer the previous play that put the Mixers ahead for good and within a win of advancing to the Finals of the All-Filipino Cup.
But even prior to the endgame sequence, Reyes believes the Kings already prepared their death bed.
“Para sa akin, hindi kami natalo dahil dun sa huling tira ni James Yap tsaka sa desisyon ni LA, kasi bago yun, marami kaming maling ginawa at marami silang easy baskets,” the reliable big man told Spin.ph after the team’s Sunday practice at the Reyes gym in Mandaluyong.
“Natalo kami hindi lang dahil sa isang player. Natalo kami kasi maraming nagkamali sa amin.”
On Saturday, the Kings let the Mixers make almost half of their shots (30 of 63), and convert their 24 turnovers to 27 points.
That prompted the Kings to go back to the drawing boards and viewing room on Sunday to see where the team can further improve and live for another day in the best-of-seven series.
“Ngayong series, hindi naman puro palakasan eh, more on mentally na talaga yung labanan kasi dun lang kami nagkakamali. So sana makapag-adjust kami sa next game,” said Reyes, one of only two players to finish in double-figures for the Kings in Game Five.
In an occasional starting role, the 29-year-old pride of Albay provided the Kings a big lift by tallying a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards, on top of two assists and one steal in 31 minutes of play as he out-shown celebrated fellow big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
“Ever since naman, pag hindi sila masyado gumagawa, ako yung inaasahan ni coach na makatulong talaga sa team,” Reyes said of the Kings’ Twin Towers, who were limited to nine points apiece.
“Pero yung focus ko hindi naman sa offense eh. Yung focus ko yung maka-rebound at maka-defense ng maayos tsaka yung guards namin mabigyan ng magandang screen kasi nahihirapan silang makalusot kasi pine-pressure sila ng todo.”
Reyes hopes Slaughter, Aguilar and the rest of the Kings will regain their usual form for the Kings to extend the series to a winner-take-all Game 7.
“Kailangan kasi hindi kami mananalo kung isa, dalawa, o tatlo lang yung maganda ang laro eh. Kailangan lahat. Hindi rin pwede na silang dalawa lang yung maganda gawin. Kailangan talaga team effort.”