MANILA, Philippines -- A loss to NorthPort in their final elimination round game exposed plenty of weaknesses in Barangay Ginebra, coach Tim Cone said on Sunday night.
The Gin Kings absorbed a 98-96 defeat to the Batang Pier ahead of the playoffs of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, and while it was a no-bearing game for them, Cone was still far from pleased with the result.
"Well, I've said this before, a million times, I hate to lose," said Cone, whose team is already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals despite the result. "I don't care whether we're caught playing the Los Angeles Lakers or we're playing our grandmothers."
"It doesn't matter. We wanna come out and play hard and win every game. So it's always disturbing to lose. And even though this is non-bearing for us, I didn't like to lose it," he said.
Ginebra struggled to contain NorthPort's Michael Qualls and Christian Standhardinger, and their execution in the endgame sputtered. They had one last chance to win the game, but Jeff Chan's three-pointer at the buzzer was way off.
Cone acknowledged that Ginebra "still got things to work on going into the playoffs," as evidenced by the loss.
NorthPort scored 20 points off Ginebra's 15 turnovers, and 19 points on the break. For Cone, this is a concern with the quarterfinals just around the corner.
"(There are) things we're not doing well instinctively," he said. "Like, getting back on defense, communicating defensively."
"I don't like where our defense is right now, haven't for the last three or four games, and we've gotta get that corrected before we get into the playoffs," the coach also said. "Otherwise, we'll pay the price."
They will focus on this over the week, while they wait for opponents in the quarterfinals.
Though he was not happy with the loss, Cone did praise the effort shone by the Gin Kings in a game that had no consequence for them.
"They could have taken it easy, and they didn't. So I applaud them for that," he said. "But still, it's obvious to us there's some things we need to work on in our game."
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