ANTIPOLO – Barangay Ginebra may be parading a new-look roster in the PBA On Tour, but the team’s core will definitely be back in time for the league’s Season 48.
Coach Tim Cone said the major players of the Kings will be back for another tour of duty together, from reigning MVP Scottie Thompson to Governors’ Cup Best Player of the Conference Christian Standhardinger.
“We’ll try to keep the team as intact as possible,” Cone said as he delegated the coaching duty to chief deputy Richard Del Rosario when the Kings played their first pre-season game on Sunday against the San Miguel Beermen.
“I think from the core, only Jamie (Malonzo) is the only one with an expiring contract. So we’ll really keep the core intact and keep moving forward.”
Thompson, Malonzo, and Japeth Aguilar were left out in the official lineup the Kings submitted for the PBA On Tour. Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle are both in the roster, but didn’t see action against San Miguel.
Only sophomore Jeremiah Gray and John Pinto from Cone’s regular rotation were part of Ginebra’s starting unit, and subsequently mixed with players coming from the Kings’ 3x3 team, namely Kim Aurin, Donald Gumaru, and Ralph Salcedo.
Aurin led all Ginebra scorers at the half with 10 points, although the Kings trailed, 45-27.
While the 3x3 players are also on the radar of the Kings – Jayson David and Encho Serrano once suited up for Ginebra’s team in the half-court game - Cone said the priority right now is to bring back all the integral players from the unit that made the finals back-to-back last season, including winning a championship in the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup.
“We still got a lot of growth in this team. Jamie and Miah are still growing and Christian had a great conference (last season),” he said. “We’re really pleased with this team.”