BARANGAY Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso considers the ongoing NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the defending champion Miami Heat as an opportunity to learn from two of the world’s best professional basketball teams.
Instead of just rooting for either the Heat of Spurs, Cariaso deliberately tried to study the way San Antonio executes its offense and how Miami plays defense in the best-of-seven championship series.
“The Spurs are always awesome to watch,” Cariaso told Spin.ph after the team’s Friday practice at the Green Meadows.
“I actually watched them (Spurs) and see how they transition from their offense, and I watch Miami on how they defend,” he said.
And although neither team runs the triangle offense the way the Kings do, Cariaso still tries to break down the Heat’s defensive schemes in the hope of integrating it into Ginebra's system this conference.
“Right now, it’s funny because since I became a head coach, I don’t watch just to watch anymore, but I watch as a head coach,” said the 41-year-old former player.
“They (Spurs and Heat) don’t run the same system as I am, or I am not running the same system as they are, but it’s how they get into things, the spacing on offense and how do they defend, like the shooters, how they (Heat) defend Tony Parker, what do they do about (Danny) Green and (Tim) Duncan, (Manu) Ginobili, stuff like that,” explained the Ginebra rookie coach.
Five games into the PBA Governors Cup, things seemed running well for Ginebra, which is currently tied at the top of the standings with sister team San Mig and Talk ‘N Text, all with identical 4-1 (win-loss) cards.
The Kings have also transformed under Cariaso from a free-wheeling, run-and-gun team the past two seasons under coaches Siot Tanquingcen, Alfrancis Chua, Ato Agustin and “active assistant coach” Juno Sauler, to a mean defensive squad this conference.
Ginebra actually tops the league in defense by limiting the opposition to just 80.2 points per game in the season-ending tournament.
“There’s a lot of little stuff we work on just to sharpen our tools on the little things. In fact, I’ve been critiquing everything, from their (Kings) stance, to their pivoting, positioning, where they are supposed to stand and where exactly they are to pass the ball,” explained Cariaso, a 10-time All-Star during his distinguished 15-year pro career.
Ginebra shoots for its fifth win in six starts when it tangles with Rain or Shine on Sunday in Binan, Laguna.