SAN Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone believes they are capable of weathering the injury storm as the Mixers clash with the Alaska Aces on Friday in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Cone refused to use the team’s injury problem as an excuse to play below par when the Mixers and the Aces collide at 8 p.m.
The Mixers, the recent PBA Governors Cup champions, started the pro league’s 39th season with a woeful 69-86 defeat to the Barangay Ginebra Kings on Sunday.
Rookie guard Justin Melton became the third member of team to get injured after he fractured his left ring finger during the San Mig’s 17-point blowout loss to the Gin Kings.
Melton, a 5-foot-11 freshman guard, joins Joe Devance (patellar tendinitis on his left knee) and Peter June Simon (Achilles tendinitis) on the injured list.
“Yes, we only had a week of practice and we open the season with a tough schedule of playing Ginebra, Alaska and Petron. Then, we’re battling through adversities with the injuries,” Cone said on Thursday.
“But we’re trying not to use that (injuries and tough schedule) as an excuse. We won’t want to be a team of excuses.”
Since Cone left Alaska to join San Mig (then B-Meg) at the start of the 2011-2012 PBA season, the two franchises developed a fierce rivalry on the court.
And Cone acknowledges that.
“We always play tough games against Alaska. Sonny Thoss is a load for everybody. He’s (Thoss) gonna be a load for us, as well as Calvin Abueva. This (Philippine Cup) is really his time,” said Cone, now tied with the legendary coach PBA Dalupan with 15 league titles.
On the other hand, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo takes the blame for the Aces’ 74-87 loss to Rain or Shine on one of the three season-opening games last Sunday.
“Playing against Rain or Shine, it appears we had no edge. Rain or Shine got the loose balls and we allowed a lot of transition points,” Trillo pointed out.
Still, Trillo remains confident that his core players of Thoss, JV Casio, Cyrus Baguio and last year’s top rookie awardee Calvin Abueva are capable of bouncing back to carry the Aces against the Mixers.
“To me, it’s just a matter of finding ways. I know they’ll come out better. We just need to bring out our game against San Mig,” added the newly-named PBA Press Corps Coach of the Year.