by Jonas Terrado
Coach Tim Cone put the blame on himself for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s PBA Philippine Cup semifinal loss to defending champion San Miguel, pointing out at his shortcomings that hastened the team’s downfall in the series which ended in five games.
Ginebra fell short at extending the semis to a sixth game with a 100-94 loss at the Cuneta Astrodome Saturday night, losing steam after a hot start before watching San Miguel make the crucial shots in the final minutes.
“I’m angry that I didn’t do enough for them,” Cone said. “We couldn’t win some of the games we should have won the stretch – Game 2 and (Game 5). But you those things happen. So I’ll be angry at myself and I’ll be real proud of our guys.”
Their elimination ended what was an inconsistent showing for the Kings, who at midway point of the conference lost four of five games and barely had to clinch the No. 4 seed in the quarterfinals after a triple overtime win over Rain or Shine on the final night of the eliminations.
Ginebra could had make it a more competitive series with San Miguel even without Greg Slaughter, nursing an ankle injury, but suffered a stunning meltdown in Game 2 when it squandered a four-point lead late in overtime before the Beermen escaped, 104-102, on Marcio Lassiter’s winning tip.
From there, Ginebra played as if it was desperate to catch San Miguel. Cone, however, refused to place blame on any of his wards.
“Despite not having Greg I thought we did a great battle and one of the coaches said to me what would it be like if (San Miguel) didn’t have June Mar, how hard it would be for them. It was that way for us.
“But Japeth (Aguilar) stepped up. We got great performances from (reserve centers) Prince (Caperal) and Raymond Aguilar. Sol (Mercado) played real well tonight. Scottie (Thompson) was incredible all series long. So I’m real proud of our guys.”
Ginebra will attempt to rebound from the frustrating defeat in next month’s Commissioner’s Cup, with resident import Justin Brownlee, currently playing for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League, reinforcing the team.