Tim Cone plots comeback as mental fatigue, injuries take toll on Ginebra
Ginebra reserve Paolo Taha in pain after injuring his knee. Jerome Ascano

FATIGUE finally caught up with Barangay Ginebra in a 102-90 loss to San Miguel Beer in the opener of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Tim Cone admitted an Ginebra side playing its fourth game in a week's time just didn’t have the energy to compete against the powerhouse Beermen, especially after the grueling three-game stretch against Rain or Shine that included a triple-overtime thriller.

“They lived up to their reputation. They played awesome and we didn’t play well. I just felt like we just, physically, we seemed to be okay, but mentally, we were a step slow, especially our starters. We weren’t reacting quickly,” said Cone after the match.

“We had three grueling games against RoS, I think that just kinda caught up with us tonight. I think we’re gonna play better as the series goes along. We’re gonna try and catch our breath. We didn’t have much time to recover, work on San Miguel cause our focus was totally on RoS."

The Beermen played an almost perfect game on offense, with 34 of their 41 baskets coming from assists. They also made 16 of 34 attempts from downtown to Ginebra’s five while scoring 22 points off Ginebra’s turnovers.

“They had 32 plus assists, we only had 17 or something like that. We had 25 turnovers. That’s just not us. We’re gonna tear this one up and go onto the next one,” Cone said.

Cone also hopes to get Greg Slaughter back in action quickly, although even he isn’t sure when his starting slotman can get back.

Add to that the injuries suffered by Mark Caguioa and Paolo Taha.

“We’re missing Mark Caguioa, out with an ankle problem. Paolo got injured tonight, he’ll be out, looks like he has an MCL problem in his knee. Joe (Devance) is still just coming back from injury,” Cone said.

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“We got our problems, but that’s the way it is at the end of a conference. We’re banged up and bruised. We’re just gonna play through it. We can play better than we did tonight, that’s for sure – with or without Greg.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11