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    Cone braces for tough match as Ginebra returns to action against league-leading Magnolia

    Oct 27, 2018
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone admitted the long break could pose problems but they can also count on a boost from the return of Greg Slaughter and Sol Mercado and the eagerness to recover from the defeat to Rain or Shine.

    Ginebra takes on Magnolia on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum after a 15-day break. Ginebra’s last game was on October 12 when the Kings lost to Rain or Shine, 104-97, in Lucena City.

    The long break as well as Magnolia’s recent play is a cause of concern, according to Cone.

    “I think that’s going to be a problem for us,” Cone said after Saturday’s practice. “This is Magnolia’s third game this week so they are going to be sharp.”

    But Cone added that the long break has allowed Greg Slaughter and Sol Mercado to get more days of practice in their preparation for their return to the Kings roster following injuries.

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    “We’ve been off for 15 days but we had a pretty good week of practice … Hopefully, that will all balance it out,” said Cone.

    Cone added the loss to Rain or Shine which snapped a four-game winning streak hopes to be a lesson not only for the players but the coaching staff.

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    “We just didn’t play very well,” Cone said, referring to their match against Rain or Shine. “I didn’t think we had our focus. You kinda sense it going to the trip. I don’t think we prepared, the coaching staff, myself, we didn’t prepare the team as well as we could have. We made some mistakes in terms of preparation.

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      “They caught us unaware on a couple of things so we know we are always going to get out and get the best of the team. Whenever we play somebody, they will be bringing out their best because we are Ginebra. All the attention is on us. Rain or Shine really played a great game against us and we weren’t able to match them for one night. Hopefully, we learn a little bit of lessons and we are ready to turn that around,” Cone added.

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      Cone said they need to bring their A-game against Magnolia especially after the Hotshots defeated TNT on Friday in Antipolo City to claim the top spot in the standings. Cone noted the fie performances of Magnolia guards Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca.

      “They’ve played very well. They were awesome last night against a tough TNT team. They’ve been good defensively and last night, they showed how strong they can be offensively. They are a complete team.

      “They deserve where they are—on top of the standings. We know we’ll have a battle. Those guards, they are really, really tough. You always build your game plan around Paul Lee,” said Cone.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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