TWO weeks into its buildup for the new PBA season, San Mig Coffee has yet to find the right mix.
The Mixers bowed to crowd favorite Ginebra, 77-103, on Tuesday to remain winless in the preseason, raising concern among members of the coaching staff who have yet to see a semblance of the form that enabled the team to win the Commissioner's Cup and finish runner-up in the Governors Cup.
A visibly disappointed Tim Cone left the Xavier gym immediately after the short post-game huddle, but assistants Koy Banal and Richard del Rosario stayed on and admitted that the Mixers have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the PBA teams as the season nears.
“Malayo na ang Ginebra sa amin, kami maghahabol pa,” Banal told Spin.ph. San Mig Coffee, which is coming off a long season marked by two best-of-seven finals that went the distance, resumed its practice only last September 5, the last PBA team to do so as most of its players went on vacation.
Del Rosario added they are holding two practice sessions every day at the Ronac gym in San Juan to hopefully get the Mixers in shape, as they gear up for their first official game of the league's 38th season on October 5 against Alaska.
James Yap was the lone bright spot on an otherwise dreary day for the Mixers, finishing with a team-high 15 points before riding the bench for majority of the fourth period.
San Mig Coffee fell behind by as many as 26-56 late in the first half due to numerous turnovers and poor shot selection.
“Pagod talaga kami. Halos three times a day na rin kasi ang practice namin the past week dahil nagwe-weights pa kami,” said San Mig’s incoming sophomore point guard Mark Barroca, who took a hard fall midway in the final period.
“Naghahabol kami sa ensayo. Sana huwag kami masunog pag simula ng season,” added the 5-foot-10 former mainstay of Smart Gilas team under then national coach Rajko Toroman.
It was San Mig Coffee’s second consecutive preseason loss, counting its aborted match against Alaska last week at the Reyes gym. San Mig Coffee was behind, 50-63 when Cone decided to call off the match after arguing a flagrant foul on Mixers forward Jerwin Gaco, who elbowed Aces forward Eddie Laure.
Cone will get a better idea on where the Mixers are compared to other teams at this point in the preseason when they leave on Friday to join a four-team, mini-tournament in Cebu. Alaska and Talk ’N Text will also be joining the brief pocket tournament along with local side ML Kuwarta Padala, which will be bannered by two imports.