Cone can't wait to see Ginebra shake off the rust in Davao debut against Phoenix
“We’re three or four games behind most of the team, so we’re in ‘habol’ mode,” says Ginebra coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

THREE weeks since its last game, Barangay Ginebra finally sees action in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup against Phoenix on Saturday at the USEP gymnasium and Cultural Center in Davao City.

Coach Tim Cone could only hope rust won’t get in the way of the Kings in their 5 p.m. Petron Saturday Special encounter against the Fuel Masters.

“We’re hoping we can knock off the rust and catch a good rhythm early in the game,” said Cone, hours after the Kings arrived down South on Friday afternoon.

“That’s going to be our challenge.”

The league’s most popular ballclub last saw action on March 5 when it was beaten by San Miguel in Game Five of the finals to win the Philippine Cup championship.

[See Cone says Brownlee versatility makes lack of size an asset rather than a liability]

Like the Kings, the Beermen were also given a three-week window period by the league before playing their first game in the mid-season tournament on Sunday against unbeaten league leader Meralco.

Cone isn’t complaining, but is aware the rest of the field has already gone way ahead of them in terms of getting their rhythm.

“We’re three or four games behind most of the teams, so we’re in ‘habol’ mode,” admitted the league’s most accomplished coach ever.

Good thing, cohesion as far as their import is concerned is not an issue for the Kings as the team decided to bring in tried and tested Justine Brownlee, the same reinforcement who powered the franchise to the Governors Cup title last season.

Brownlee stands a shade below 6-foot-5 and will be pitted against imports standing as high as the conference height limit of 6-foot-10.

Cone is curious to see how Brownlee can match up with imports bigger and stronger than him.

“We’re interested to see how we match up with Justin as our import,” said the Ginebra coach. “He’s come in a lot better shape and his familiarity with what we do will obviously be a big plus.”

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