COACH Tim Cone believes the Star Hotshots will now have to play with a greater sense of urgency if the team wants to even entertain thoughts of defending its PBA Governors Cup title.
And Cone said the Hotshots’ match up against the Meralco Bolts serves as the starting point for the reigning champions to pick up the pace.
The Hotshots (1-1) suffered a 91-89 defeat at the hands of unbeaten GlobalPort (3-0), marking the first time the Purefoods franchise bowed to the Batang Pier after winning their first nine matches dating back to the 2013 season.
“Our last loss certainly told us that we have to really pick it up in all phases of our game if we’re going to defend our championship this conference,” said Cone.
Game time is at 5:15 p.m.
Cone rued the Hotshots aren’t playing with much cohesion the way the team did during its Grand Slam conquest last season.
Against GlobalPort, Star turned the ball over 22 times, which the Batang Pier converted to 17 turnover points.
“We’re not playing with much flow or rhythm and our defense has been particularly porous,” he said.
“I’m disappointed so far, but we still have time to recover and get better. I just got to trust my guys.”
The Bolts are also struggling this conference, after losing two of their first three games.
Meralco’s lone win thus far came against San Miguel, 106-95 (OT), but bowed to GlobalPort, 92-73, and NLEX, 91-84..
But Meralco coach Norman Black simply wants the Bolts to keep their positive mindset.
“You don’t turn negative. But you just stay positive when we play (Star) on Sunday,” said Black.
One good thing going Meralco’s way is the impressive debut of Japanese import Seiya Ando, who fired 18 points and issued four assists against the Road Warriors.
“I thought he (Ando) came and gave us a lift. He made some good shots. I think he’ll help us this conference,” he added.