SISTERS PLOT REVENGE
With the odds heavily stacked in favor of San Miguel Beer, its sister teams — Ginebra and Magnolia — are tipped to go all out when they march to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup this Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
My players will always be ready to fight even against a powerhouse and super team like San Miguel
The Kings and the Hotshots vowed to play their hearts out to avenge their previous defeat and spoil the Beermen’s bid of capturing their fifth straight All-Filipino Conference title.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone said they would take advantage of San Miguel’s chemistry issues after acquiring temperamental playmaker Terrence Romeo as well as guards Paul Zamar and Ronald Tubid to join the already crowded backcourt bannered by Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot.
Except for some minor changes, Cone said they didn’t retool their roster to maintain the fluidity and cohesiveness that made them successful in the previous year.
Ginebra had a quiet offseason as it retained its core built around Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Joe Devance and Scottie Thompson. The Kings’ only acquisition was rookie free agent Tey Teodoro, who signed a one-year contract.
Any time we could keep those guys healthy, then we feel that we could compete for a championship.
“There’s something to be said about being intact, about continuity,” said Cone, the league’s most successful mentor.
“We’re comfortable with our chemistry and our system. Everybody really understands what’s going on and we feel that we can play in a deeper level.”
Cone believes they are the biggest threat to the Beermen’s dynasty after being the only team to embarrass them in their seven trips to the finals since 2014.
“We’re healthy. Greg Slaughter is healthy and Japeth Aguilar is healthy. Any time we could keep those guys healthy, then we feel that we could compete for a championship,” said Cone, who willed Ginebra to its first Commissioner’s Cup title in 21 years last season after winning over San Miguel.
“Of all the teams out there, I think we got the best chance to match up against them. We’ll see.”
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero aired the same confidence, saying that they will always be ready to be content — even against the mighty Beermen.
“I’m sure we can go toe-to-toe with any team. My players will always be ready to fight even against a powerhouse and super team like San Miguel,” said Victolero, who gained a lot of confidence after piloting the Hotshots to the Governors’ Cup crown last month.
“We’re just getting started and my main concern is to get back our conditioning and timing. Nevertheless, we’ll be ready just in time for battle.”