BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone stressed the backcourt production left much to be desired in the Gin Kings’ 86-78 loss to Star in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night.
While standing defiant after their season-opening setback, the American coach admitted he wanted more from his guards, who flopped except for Scottie Thompson after the rookie impressed in his pro debut.
Starter LA Tenorio was held scoreless after missing all his five shots, although he did have four assists, two boards, one steal, and one block against two turnovers in 32 minutes, while backcourt partner Mark Caguioa registered four points on 2-of-8 shooting, five boards, three assists, two steals, and one block.
Starting small forward Chris Ellis had five points and two boards in 14 minutes.
Cone, though, pointed to the Hotshots’ changing defense that disrupted them.
“We need more guard play,” Cone admitted. “Mark and LA and Chris, those guys, we couldn’t get them open tonight and that’s a credit to Purefoods’ defense.”
It was big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar who carried most of the offensive load, combining for 54 points, 32 boards, and eight assists.
“It just shows their capabilities,” Cone said of the twin towers. “The offense is directed to them and they're going to have opportunities to put up big numbers.”
“But it's a fifty-fifty offense,” the Grand Slam coach was quick to add. “I think our problem today is that we just didn't get LA, Mark, Chris, and Sol (Mercado), and even Joe (Devance) into a rhythm.”
Mercado was scoreless after missing his three shots, contributing one assist, one board, and one steal against three turnovers in 14 minutes. Devance mustered a solitary point as he missed all his four shots in 18 minutes. Even Mercardo’s fellow sub, Jayjay Helterbrand, was also scoreless in 10 minutes.
“Those guys got to be able to contribute,” Cone said. “That falls on me. I'll take the hit today. I didn't prepare them for what needed to be prepared for.”
“We have other issues, other things we're thinking about in terms of our execution on offense and defense,” he added. “We're not ready for complicated issues at this point. It's not a big deal.”
“Japeth and Greg can put up big numbers, but it has to come from everybody,” Cone concluded.