Ellis on Ginebra woes: 'We're gonna keep fighting'

MANILA, Philippines – The question marks don’t seem to end for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel – at least not after a deflating 100-82 loss to the San Miguel Beermen Sunday night, November 15.

The Gin Kings continue to struggle in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup, winning just one of their first 4 games, and are unable to gain momentum nearing the halfway mark of the elimination round. But for fourth year forward Chris Ellis, the woes are all part of growing pains Ginebra must go through.

“We’re supposed to be making progress towards the middle of the season,” the 26-year-old admitted it’s all still a learning process for the team under the new system of head coach Tim Cone.

“We’re far behind but we’re not gonna stop fighting. We’re gonna keep on learning. We got a group of guys that just don’t stop and we’re gonna keep fighting.”

Sunday night’s setback left the entire Gin Kings locker room disappointed and frustrated, especially since they lost in the most uncharacteristic way a Ginebra team could lose: by going ice cold from beyond the arc. 

Ginebra hit a forgettable franchise milestone as they missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts – the worst in the Gin Kings' history, according to PBA Head Statistician Fidel Mangonon III. 

Even worse, they allowed San Miguel to make 14-of-40 triples on the other end. While the Gin Kings had their moments in the first half, they effectively lost steam in the second as frustration set in over shots not falling. 

Players' rhythm

“Maybe it’s not lack of shooting, it’s more of rhythm,” veteran guard LA Tenorio weighed in on his team’s poor shooting. “We’re still in the process of learning the triangle so the players’ rhythm, especially the shooters, they still don’t have it. Sometimes they’re surprised they’re wide open.”

Per Mangonon, Ginebra is already the worst in shooting from beyond the arc with a 20% clip or 14-of-70 triples. The team is also last in the league in scoring with 83 points per game.

“We’re playing more on Greg and Japeth now. In fairness to them, they’re giving numbers and playing their best. But the thing is, they need help from the guards, from us,” Tenorio explained. “Maybe we’re just out of rhythm because we’re focusing too much on Greg and Japeth so we need a balance.” 

“To get that balance we’re still in the process of learning the triangle so hopefully we get it this conference,” he added. 

Rookie Scottie Thompson was the last Ginebra player to score from long range, according to Mangonon, and the team has since missed its last 23 triple attempts dating back to the second quarter of its first win over Alaska on Saturday, November 7.

“I think it’s just the movement off the ball. We have a tendency that when the ball goes into the post, a lot of guys are just standing around,” said Ellis. “I think throughout you can see little shades of it, guys moving. But we’re a work in progress.” 

A sense of urgency is expected from Ginebra as it looks to finally break its spell against the still winless Meralco on Tuesday, November 17, in Biñan, Laguna.

The team is currently wallowing at the bottom of the standings, tied with second year teams Mahindra and Blackwater with 7 games remaining.

“When it comes down to it we just gotta keep fighting,” said Ellis. “Play with your heart, try to do things and leave it all out there on the court.” – Rappler.com