Cone tells Gin Kings no time to relax

October 08, 2018

THE PBA Governors’s Cup elimination phase is still in its most interesting stage with teams jockeying for position, but defending champion Barangay Ginebra is already in playoff mood.

In fact, the Gin Kings became the first team to clinch a quarterfinals berth after their 111-105 win over Meralco in an out-of-town game  in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last Sunday.

But even with a 7-1 win-loss record and most of their main stars finally getting back from the injury list,  Ginebra knows there is still no time to relax.

Ask coach Tim Cone.

“We still have long ways to go, in terms of positioning in the playoffs,” Cone  told sportswriters during their  much-awaited rematch against Meralco, the  same team they beat in the finals of the past two editions of the season- ending tournament.

“We don’t want to get too happy,” added Cone in an interview published in the official PBA website.

But Cone himself  acknowledged that the Gin Kings will surely benefit  a  lot  from  the return of  his key players after missing some time due to injuries.

Cone said Greg Slaughter, Sol Mercado, Art de la Cruz and Joe de Vance are expected to be back in action  when the Gin Kings take on Rain or Shine in another out-of-town game at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City this Saturday.

The Kings also also scheduled  to  meet  Magnolia on Oct. 28 and Talk  N Text  on Nov. 4, both at the Araneta Coliseum.

“Coming into our last three games of the conference, we might be starting to have our guys back and get back to where our team was last conference in terms of personnel,” Cone said.

Slaughter, the 7-1 “Tower of Power” of Ginebra,  has  not played  since early last  month  due to a sprained ankle.

Mercado underwent surgery on his meniscus while  Dela Cruz  is still out due to an  injury in his Achilles tendon which he sustained  last year.

Devance, who is also  recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot, is also a  probable  starter  on Oct. 13.

But even without the four players, Ginebra is doing well with several players, including  Aljon  Mariano and Prince Caperal, stepping up during crucial moments of the game.

“I’m  happy that guys are stepping up  and it’s  been a  fun ride for us so far,” sid Cone,  adding that LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson have also brought their usual A-games.