TIM Cone would rather not deliberate the fate of Barangay Ginebra import Charles Garcia in public in the aftermath of the team’s second loss in a row in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night.
Garcia obviously has yet to settle down in the Kings’ system. He fired 3-of-11 to finish with 15 points to go with nine rebounds in a 96-92 drubbing at the hands of TnT Katropa at the Mall of Asia Arena.
While Cone is aware the heat is on the 29-year-old import, more so with the fans' growing clamor to immediately bring in Justin Brownlee after his stint with Alab Pilipinas in the ABL, the coach refused to pass judgment on Garcia.
At least not in public.
“That’s something that we’ll have to talk about internally. It’s not something that we’re going to talk about publicly,” said a forlorn Cone shortly after emerging from the Ginebra dugout on Sunday night.
“You’ll know if and when, or whatever we decide on it.”
It’s no secret the Kings want to tap Brownlee even if the 6-5 versatile import will be a number of inches shorter than most of the other reinforcements in the midseason conference.
But Cone believes the Kings’ winless start is more than just about Garcia.
“I know all eyes are on our import. But I just feel it’s more than that. Our locals are not playing as well either. We’re not just playing at a high level at this point,” he said.
The 0-2 start of the league’s most popular ballclub is its worst since the 2016 edition of this same tournament when the Kings also lost their first two games.
“We always get off to a slow start, and I always wonder why we do,” he said.
Still, Ginebra has nine more games left in its schedule and Cone knows the team will get there in the end.
“We have a lot to learn, a lot to teach in our system. We’re kind of vulnerable to that. Obviously we don’t want to fall too far behind in this conference, but we’ll find a way to be there at the end, we think,” said Cone.