TIM Cone gave Ginebra credit for coming back from an early deficit and almost pulling the rug from under defending champion San Miguel before yielding in double overtime of their PBA Governors Cup match-up on Sunday night.
But the champion coach believes the Kings need more than just their ‘never-say-die’ spirit if they are to seriously contend for the championship of the season-ending conference.
Cone said the league’s most popular franchise should already be beyond notching moral victories, and instead learn to win the kind of games like it had against the Beermen.
“We need to get beyond that and just reward our fans with wins,” said the 58-year-old mentor.
“We really need to learn how to win these tight games,” he stressed. “Our only two losses have come in overtime games.”
The Kings (4-2) lost to the Alaska Aces also in overtime, 109-100.
Ginebra found itself in huge hole against the Beermen early on, trailing by as many as 49-29 in the second quarter, which ballooned to its highest at 71-47 midway in the third.
True to its character though, the Kings came through with a huge run the rest of the way and even had two golden chances of winning the game both in regulation and in the first overtime period if not for the missed timeouts which LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar failed to call.
“We should have been smart. We just got excited and didn’t get to call a timeout,” said big man Joe Devance of the two opportunities the Kings let go to map out a game-winning play.
“But in my opinion, we didn’t lose the game because of that. It’s more of our execution on offense and defense.”
Still, Cone seen some positives in the tough loss.
“I was really proud of the way we fought back into the game and how the Ginebra crowd cheered us not to quit,” said the Ginebra coach in appreciating the mostly Ginebra crowd that made up the 12,423 fans who watched the game at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Without doubt it’s the Ginebra crowd that gives the team our never say die attitude. Still, we had our chance to pull it out and should have,” stressed Cone. “But we can take heart that we’re getting there.”