Webb says Star focused on survival - not on former coach Cone - in playoff vs Ginebra
Star coach Jason Webb says he was hoping a match-up against former Hotshots coach Tim Cone and Ginebra would happen deeper in the playoffs, "pero nandito kami eh.” Jerome Ascano/ Jaime Campos

STAR coach Jason Webb insisted he doesn’t have to remind his wards to keep their emotions in check when the Hotshots face former mentor Tim Cone and Barangay Ginebra in a PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal match on Christmas Day.

The Hotshots will naturally hold the Grand Slam coach in high regard in only their second meeting against each other, but that’s as far as emotions will go, their rookie coach said.

“It’s never been a problem,” Webb told a couple of scribes after practice on Monday. “There’s always going to be affection and mutual respect for everyone involved.”

The Hotshots seemed to have no problem with emotions running high as they were all business in an 86-78 whipping of Cone and the Gin Kings in their elimination-round meeting last October 25.

“And it just so happened that kami ulit nagtagpo sa knockout,” Webb said. “We were hoping maybe later on sana, pero nandito kami eh.”

[See Tim Cone says playoff match against former team Star will be 'really, really hard']

They're about to face off anew exactly two months later and the Hotshots’ only mindset is survival and nothing else as they face an uphill climb against the twice-to-beat Gin Kings.

“I’d like to think that it’s always more than just who you’re playing, but what you’re playing for. And we’re playing for a chance to survive,” Webb said. “Kahit ano pang team 'yan, I think players know na must-win siya. That’s what it simply is.”

Hotshots superstar James Yap admitted there is still a different feeling facing his coach of four years, but was quick to add that he has moved on.

“Sa tingin ko mayroon (pagkakaiba), pero actually tapos na eh, move on na eh,” the sweet-shooting guard said. “Wala na tayong magawa dun.”

“Ang pagkakaiba lang ngayon, yung coach namin before, nandun na sa kanila,” he added. “Ang gagawin na lang namin is maglaro ng mabuti against them.”

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