PARTLY because of its own doing and with help from other teams, Ginebra has hit its immediate target of being included among the top four quarterfinalists in the PBA Governors Cup.
But the Kings still need a lot of improvement if they hope to reclaim the crown they relinquished last year. No less than coach Tim Cone said so.
“We’ve got things to work on going to the playoffs,” Cone said after Ginebra’s 96-98 loss to NorthPort last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Things that we’re not doing well instinctively, like getting back on defense, communicating defensively,” added Cone.
“So that’s going to be our focus this week, try to get in and really get down defensively and try to improve that area of our game right now. It’s obvious for us there’s something we need to work on our game.”
The win, its second straight straight for 5-6 record overall, was a big one for NorthPort as it clinched a quarterfinals berth.
The Batang Pier could get No. 7 if Alaska loses to NLEX or No. 8 if the Aces prevail.
Just getting to the next round is what matters at the moment for NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, whose side had to endure the loss to a knee injury by ace guard Robert Bolick.
“Blessing, nanalo tayo. At least, we are in the quarters. We’ll be ready against the twice-to-beat team,” said Jarencio, referring to his team’s next opponent which could either be NLEX or Meralco.
The loss, which gave it a 7-4 slate, hardly mattered for Ginebra which has already assure itself of finishing in the upper half of the eight-team quarterfinals with back-to-back wins over TNT and Columbian last Nov. 8 and 15, respectively.
Further securing the Kings’ top four finish was Magnolia’s 100-93 win over the KaTropa last Saturday.
It’s now a matter of determining what the official quarterfinals placings would be and that would be known at the end of the elimination round tomorrow when NLEX meets Alaska and San Miguel Beer and TNT colide.
Ginebra would clinch No. 3 behind NLEX and Meralco if SMB wins but would drop to fourth if TNT prevails and takes third spot.
Such scenarios would put the Kings in a tough matchup either way. As the No. 3 seed in the next round they would be ranged against defending champion and sixth-ranked Magnolia or fifth-ranked SMB if they fall to No. 4.
Cone knows his team’s win-once advantage offers little comfort against either the Hotshots or Beermen, thus his insistence for his team to fine-tune its game, especially on the defensive end.
“I don’t like where our defenses is right now. I haven’t for the last three or four games,” Cone said. “We’ve got to get that corrected before we get into the playoffs. Otherwise, we’ll pay the price.”
The loss to NorthPort already rankles at Cone although it was one his team could afford. “It’s always disturbing to lose,” he said.
“Even though this is a non-bearing game for us, I didn’t like losing,” added Cone. “I’ve said this before a million times, I hate to lose and I don’t care whether we’re… playing the Los Angeles Lakers or we’re playing our grandmothers, it doesn’t matter. We want to come out and play hard and win every game.”