THE 42nd season of the PBA is a scant three days away and crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra admitted it is still far from where it needs to be in terms of preparation.
“A lot of work left to do,” answered Gin Kings coach Tim Cone yesterday when asked by People’s Journal how far have they gone in their preparations for the Philippine Cup.
Although the league’s most popular ballclub has finalized its lineup, Cone admitted the Gin Kings are still very early in their preparation for the All-Filipino.
That the Gin Kings are still lagging in preparation was all the more evident when they dropped a 103-100 loss to Blackwater in their tune-up a few days back.
“I wasn’t impressed by our play against Blackwater,” Cone said. “I’ll give our guys a pass at this point because we’ve only had a couple of days of practice.”
“We’re still we’re a long way from where we need to be, and only have a short time to get there. We’ll definitely need to step it up,” stressed Cone, the league’s most successful coach with 19 titles in the three teams he has handled.
A look at the team’s lineup though would convince you that the Gin Kings are capable of giving every other team, including the defending titlist San Miguel, a run for their money in the 12-team tournament.
Although the team has sent Greg Slaughter to reserve list owing to injury, the Gin Kings still have a host of dependable players in Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Sol Mercado, L.A. Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Chris Ellis and a pair of rookies in Kevin Ferrer and Raymond Jamito, who, if the team officials are to be believed, are ready to deliver too.
The Philippine Cup, kickoff conference of the league’s 42nd Season, opens on Sunday with a lone encounter pitting defending champion San Miguel Beer against sister team Star Hotshots at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings, who won the season-ending Governors’ Cup, will open their campaign in the prestigious conference on November 27, taking on Talk ‘N Text in the 6:45 p.m. main offering of an explosive double-header.
It is explosive because it is on that day that the very same team the Gin Kings defeated in the Governors’ Cup — the Meralco Bolts – will also launch its campaign in its own bid to rebound from that huge loss in the last conference.
The Bolts go up against Blackwater, another team everybody is expecting to pull off surprises come the tough conference that will feature 36 playing days, including six out-of-town games.