MANILA, Philippines -- When the PBA eventually resumes the All-Filipino Cup, the players will find themselves in an unfamiliar environment.
Fans will not be allowed to watch sporting events if and when they return in the Philippines, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This will be a new experience for most of the PBA players -- especially for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, who are used to playing in front of packed crowds whenever they take the floor.
"Hopefully, they'll play over the loudspeakers -- Gin-ne-bra, Gi-ne-bra," coach Tim Cone said in jest when discuss
ing the topic on "The Chasedown" recently.
But Cone acknowledged that the zero-audience environment will take some getting used to, particularly for his players. The Gin Kings have always thrived in front of their fans, relying on them for an extra boost especially when they fall behind in games.
With Ginebra fans overpowering their opponent's crowds, virtually every game is a home game for the Gin Kings.
"Without a doubt, it's gonna be more difficult without the fans," Cone admitted. "The fans are such a huge part of the game, and you can't discount them at all, especially Ginebra fans."
"So yeah, it's going to be a big adjustment for us," he added.
Chants of "Gi-ne-bra, Gi-ne-bra" traditionally fuel the Gin Kings when they make their famous comebacks, and the same chants remind them to keep their foot on the pedal when they take a big lead.
Cone said that with their supporters not allowed to watch the games live, the Gin Kings will "have to learn to kick ourselves into gear."
"(We have to) play big moments without the fans," he said. "Those things are all gonna be a part of it, and things that we would discuss if we get back together and go."
Still, the coach assured that the Gin Kings will give their best despite the absence of their crowd support.
"They're professionals," Cone said of his players. "They know about the game, and I don't think that's gonna be an issue in terms of our guys playing hard."
"It's just the extra boost that you get from the fans. It's so valuable."
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