It’s a no-brainer for Barangay Ginebra to step up its game a notch higher when it takes on Magnolia on what could be another epic chapter to their storied rivalry in the semifinal of the 2022 PBA Commissioner Cup, according to head coach Tim Cone.
The multi-titled mentor rued the inconsistencies to the Kings’ game in their quarterfinals series against NorthPort. Ginebra completed a sweep of the best-of-three affair but had to bleed for it and author two come-from-behind victories.
“I'm concerned because we didn't play all that well tonight. We can't play like that against Magnolia, it's not gonna be much of a clasico. We really have to pick it up,” said Cone after his team closed out the series 99-93 last Saturday, Dec. 10.
Ginebra, just like in the first game, started out the game flat and actually trailed by as many as 18 points in the opening frame before slowly climbing its way back to the contest in the second half.
“We had a let down tonight both at the start of the game and even when we got ahead, we still got a lot of mental errors and that's not really characteristic of our team but it showed up today. We got to be able play back-to-back games in the playoffs so a lot better than we did tonight,” said the veteran tactician.
Cone said they don’t have the luxury of committing the same mistakes and expect the team to battle back through it, especially up against an elite defensive team in the Hotshots.
Aside from worrying about their offense, another cause of concern for Cone is the impact that Magnolia import Nick Rakocevic could bring into their best-of-five affair.
“He gave us fits when we played the first time around in the elimination. He was dominant especially on the boards and we just couldn't keep him off the boards. He is not only tall and long but he's incredibly quick to the bounce so that's something we have to take a look at and get a little bit more prepared for than the elimination,” explained Cone.
“It’s been a while since we play the but we had so many battles with that team, we know them well, they know us well, what we like to do and hopefully the fans will come out it will be a loud gym that will pump out both teams, i thinks it's gonna b e a tremendous series.”