Barangay Ginebra may have taken another quick playoff exit under first-year coach Tim Cone, but the Kings are not about to take a vacation just yet.
For one, the Kings are back in practice just days after being swept, 2-0 by the rampaging Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series.
“What we wanna do is pressure our minds, look at the video and think like we have a game the next day,” Cone told FOX Sports after the team’s practice at the Ronac gym.
Import Othyus Jeffers also joined the team, according to Cone, saying he intends to bring back the do-it-all import for the season-ending Governors Cup.
The American coach insisted they are well aware of the repercussions of bringing in a short import for the Commissioner’s Cup.
And while some people blame him for fielding the 6-foot-4 Jeffers instead of maximizing the 6-9 import height limit, Cone is standing by his decision.
“It’s something we’re well aware of because we did rely heavily on Greg (Slaughter) and Japeth (Aguilar) to defend the imports,” explained the multi-titled PBA coach.
Slaughter and Aguilar did well defending imports for most parts of the mid-season conference, though when the game and their campaign was on the line, the celebrated “Twin Towers” were stymied.
The 6-foot-11 Slaughter and Aguilar finished with quiet identical numbers of 14 points and 8 rebounds as they struggled to get past wide-bodied import Pierre Henderson-Niles in Ginebra’s 102-89 beating at the hands of Rain or Shine last Tuesday.
Cone said the experience defending bigger imports will augur well for his “Twin Towers” come the Governors Cup since they will be battling shorter reinforcements.
The height limit for the top 8 finishers in the first 2 conferences this season based on their records is 6-5, while the last 4 teams are allowed to bring in 6-9 imports.
“Basically, we’d like to think that we’ve set ourselves up for the 3rd conference. We know Greg and Japeth has improved while O (Jeffers) is now more familiar with what we do,” added the 58-year-old Cone.
Jeffers, the former NBA D-League MVP will be leaving for Chicago a few days from now, but is expected to return come June to reinforce Ginebra.
Cone mentioned they intend to mirror San Miguel’s success from last season when the Beermen played Arizona Reid in the Commissioner’s Cup, before experiencing breakthrough when they ruled the Governors Cup.
“I think O will be a dominant player, much like AZ Reid when he played for San Miguel in the Commissioner’s Cup and then come the next conference, we see them dominate,” said Cone.
Ginebra’s PBA title drought continues, having won its last championship in the 2008 Fiesta Conference with import Chris Alexander in tow.
But here’s what Cone vowed: “We will try to do something special. We are aware of what we’re doing now.” – By Richard Dy
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