GINEBRA coach Tim Cone refused to dwell on Japeth Aguilar’s crucial miss from point-blank range that sealed the Gin Kings’ fate in their 103-98 double-overtime loss to Phoenix in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night.
While Aguilar hit the overtime-sending triple, the Gin Kings star slotman missed a layup off a Scottie Thompson pass in the second extra session that could’ve pulled the Gin Kings to within a point.
Instead, the miss led to a Fuel Masters possession where RJ Jazul drew a foul and converted two charities to give the team a 102-98 lead that held to the end.
“He just missed it. Got nothing on that thing,” Cone said in one of the few times he granted an interview shortly after a loss. “You saw it as well as I did. He just missed the shot. Too bad. We still had a chance to go into overtime and win it, we didn’t do that either.”
More than how the Gin Kings’ finished the game, Cone was more displeased with how his team started the contest as they gave up an early lead and fell into a hole as deep as 16 points.
“I’m just upset at how we started the basketball game, upset about the first half,” the Gin Kings coach said. “I’m upset we had to play zone all game because we weren’t good enough defensively one-on-one, man-to-man. A lot of things to be upset about.
“But at least the guys didn’t quit, they kept battling, and got back in the game, so you appreciate that,” he added. “But we got to get to be better.”
Despite the Gin Kings failing to ride the momentum of their blowout win against Blackwater two Fridays ago and dropping to 1-3 win-loss, Cone remains optimistic of his team’s outlook.
“We’re so used to being in this situation,” the 20-time champion said. “Me, as a coach, I’m used to … I always believe that cream rises or will rise to the top. And I know we’re a cream part of the league.”
“So we will rise, and we got to make it rise,” he added. “But we’re confident that we’re going to come back and win a few games.”
It will only get tougher for the Gin Kings, however, as they face a contender and the defending champion in their next two games after the All-Star break.
“We got a tough schedule coming up: Meralco, San Miguel, tough back-to-back, but we’ll find a way,” Cone concluded.