Cone not too concerned with slow start: Ginebra plays better catching up

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel played catch-up for the second straight game against the San Miguel Beermen, but head coach Tim Cone is not too concerned about it.

In fact, he sees it as a good thing.

"It should be nice to be able to play from the front," the winningest PBA coach said when asked about his team's trend of starting slow as they head into game 3 on Friday, September 30.

"It's a concern but it's not a huge concern that we're playing from behind. In fact I think this team plays a little better when they are playing from behind because of their crowd."

Just like game 1, the Gin Kings fell behind in the first half, this time by as much as 47-31. True to their "Never Say Die" philosophy, they resorted to mounting a rally in the third quarter to get back into the game.

Fate was not on Ginebra's side Wednesday, September 28, as they lost 95-92, allowing San Miguel to tie the best-of-5 series at one game apiece.

"One thing I like about our guys (is) we don't panic. We know we can come back on anybody because of our 6th man, our crowd, they help us get back from anything," Cone said.

If there was anything Cone felt Ginebra is struggling with it was getting focused.

"We didn't have a real good focus tonight. Maybe a little kampante (confident) after the first win which you don't want to do. As a group we're still trying to learn how to play a series," he explained.

"Guys got to learn how to come out and play with a better focus after a win. I'm sure we're going to be much better focused on Friday after losing. It's kind of easy to get back focused after you lose, it's a little bit harder after you win."

After a scoreless game 1 guard LA Tenorio broke through the scoring column with a team-high 22 points, including 12 in that third quarter barrage.

He added 7 assists plus the big triple with 20.4 ticks remaining that pulled the Gin Kings to within 92-93. But turnovers and risking a steal in a late San Miguel possession cost them a wide open Elijah Millsap dunk that preserved the victory.

Import Justin Brownlee also went from a conference-high 39-point game 1 performance to a conference-low 18-point showing as he missed what could have been the game-tying triple at the buzzer.

Cone admitted there were few positives he could pick up game from game 2 but emphasized he will make sure the team moves on and re-focuses for Friday's game 3.

"Positives I guess is that we didn't play a very good game and we hung around. But I didn't think tonight was San Miguel's best game either," he said.

"They weren't shooting the ball as well as they normally shoot it, maybe that's a function of our defense. But I think we can both lift the levels of our games. Theirs and ours."

"You always have to take it one game at a time. This game's over, you have to move from it. I'm all about moving forward. We just move on from this one, focus on the next, and go with it. See where it takes us," he added. –