Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – The next chapter of legendary head coach Tim Cone’s career got off to a rough start courtesy of his former team.
Dominating from the opening tip and never ceasing control of the game, the Star Hotshots blew out the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in their first ever game under Cone’s tutelage, 86-78, on Sunday, October 25, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Led by a big game by James Yap and a well-balanced attack from the rest of the team, the Hotshots utilized a 30-1 run in the first period that turned a 14-12 lead to 44-13 early in the second quarter.
Ginebra managed to cut the led to 16 and 14 at different points of the second half, but Star was able to make big shots to keep their opponents at bay and hold on for the victory.
“Relief. I think that’s the first thing you fell. Also, I’m just happy for the boys,” rookie head coach Jason Webb said after his team improved to 1-1 this PBA season.
“I’m just happy that we got one of those, because they worked hard during the offseason, during the season, and you just want them to get rewarded at this point,” he said.
Yap led the Hotshots with 19 points while PJ Simon and Mark Barroca each put up 12 points in the win. Rookie Norbert Torres also played well with 8 points while Justin Melton pitched in 7.
Ginebra’s twin towers were dominant with Greg Slaughter registering 28 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Japeth Aguilar went off for 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 assists. Former NCAA MVP and rookie Earl Scottie Thompson also impressed in his debut, finishing with 5 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds.
As a team, Cone’s Gin Kings shot 44% from the floor but went just 3-of-16 from downtown, while the Hotshots connected on 10-of-26 from long range.
Ginebra also turned the ball over 22 times as they struggled against the different zone and man-to-man defenses thrown their way by the Hotshots. Cone, an 18-time champion, admitted after the contest that he was out-coached by his former protege in Webb.
“We don’t really know what role we play yet,” Webb admitted after the contest. “All we know is we want to come out every game with that kind of energy. We’re still not doing a good job of sustaining it.”
Star did a good job taking care of the ball with just 13 turnovers while moving the ball with 18 assists. They also took advantage of Ginebra’s miscues, garnering 24 points off turnovers.
Star will aim to go 2-1 when they face the GlobalPort Batang Pier on Friday, October 30. Ginebra, on the other hand, will look to bounce back on Saturday, October 31, against the Barako Bull Energy.
Star (86): Yap 19, Barroca 12, Simon 12, Torres 8, Melton 7, Mallari 6, Pascual 6, Pingris 6, Sangalang 5, Maliksi 3, Reavis 2, Pascual 0, Taha 0
Ginebra (78): Slaughter 28, Aguilar 26, Ellis 5, Salva 5, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Brondial 2, Mariano 2, Devance 1, Helterbrand 0, Mercado 0, Tenorio 0
Quarter scores: 37-13, 58-38, 71-52, 86-78