MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra is as loaded as it could get with the arrival of Stanley Pringle, but that does not prevent head coach Tim Cone from salivating at the idea of having his injured key players back on board.
The Gin Kings are bound to get even more talented in their title-retention campaign in the PBA Commissioner's Cup as soon as Jeff Chan, Jared Dillinger, and Art dela Cruz recover from their respective injuries.
"[I] keep looking at the bench, and behind the bench I see Jeff Chan, and I see Art dela Cruz, and I see Jared Dillinger, and my mouth waters, thinking of, 'Wow, wait 'til we get those guys back'," Cone told reporters.
"People, I don't think have made a big deal about those 3 guys but those are 3 impact players that come in," he added after Ginebra earned a 118-106 win over Alaska on Sunday, June 30.
According to Cone, the Gin Kings are still uncertain when Chan and Dillinger can play again while Dela Cruz is expected to be back in practice by the end of the week.
"Imagine being able to keep Stanley and LA (Tenorio) and Justin (Brownlee) fresh throughout the game, playing those guys. We feel we have a bright future, we just have to go out and seize it," Cone said.
"We feel we have, you know, what we need. Those guys are an incredible bonus to us when they can trickle back into the lineup."
The winningest coach in PBA history, though, knows talent is not enough to continue winning.
"It's not going to come easy, we have to work hard at it every night. Every night has got to be hard work."
Ginebra (5-4) looks to make it two wins in a row when it faces the streaking Magnolia (5-2) in another edition of the Manila Clasico at the Araneta Coliseum next Sunday, July 7. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.