ONE humbling loss is all it took for Barangay Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso to be reminded that he still has a ton of lessons to learn.
The rookie coach and the Kings suffered their first loss in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the hands of defending champion San Mig and his longtime mentor Tim Cone on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“That’s why coach Tim is the best coach in the Philippines and it’s no question why they’re a champion team,” Cariaso said after the 90-102 loss.
The rookie coach lamented his Kings’ lack of mental toughness in the endgame of their huge loss.
The Kings were very much in contention early in the fourth quarter before succumbing to the Mixers’ suffocating full-court defense that forced them into a handful of errors that led to their first loss in four games.
“We weren’t mentally strong enough after a couple of turnovers,” Cariaso admitted. “Instead of being mentally strong, I think we put our heads down a little bit and we’re thinking about more of the turnovers instead of bringing the ball down and execute.”
The Kings engaged the Mixers in a close match that saw 13 lead changes and 13 deadlocks, before getting stuck in a rut midway through the payoff period where San Mig pulled away.
“We battled and played hard. I give credit to my guys. But we have to play four quarters,” Cariaso said. “We only played three quarters and six minutes, so that’s not enough.”
So he hopes his wards learn from this experience.
“We have be able to be comfortable with pressure and still be able to execute if even they pressure us,” Cariaso said.