Jul 20, 2022

Cone hopes duel with Phoenix will sharpen Ginebra for the playoffs

BARANGAY Ginebra's 100-93 victory over NorthPort last Sunday brought back the Gin Kings into the win column after back-to-back loses against TNT and Meralco spoiled their bid for a coveted Top 2 seat in the quarterfinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.

More importantly, the win allowed the Gin Kings to seal their place in the middle of the playoff draw and into a best-of-three quarterfinal series. But with one more game still left in its schedule, coach Tim Cone, fresh from his Miami Heat Summer League assistant coaching stint, is hungry for more.

"The Phoenix game will be a game we'll use to get ready for the playoffs," he said shortly after Sunday's bounce back victory at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

"Anytime we want to get ready for the playoffs, we want to play at a high level. There are certain things we want to work on, but we're going to do them on a very high level," he added.

Thursday's match against Phoenix, also at the Big Dome, provides Cone the opportunity to get his other veterans--namely Jared Dillinger and Stanley Pringle--into game shape in preparation for the knockout phase of the centerpiece tournament.

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The 3-7 Fuel Masters, meanwhile, hope to end their elimination phase on a winning note and at the same time, bolster their chances of making the next round.

"We won't be concerned so much about the score as the quality of the game we're gonna be playing. And we're gonna get some certain players ready," the PBA's winningest coach said.

Cone also remains on the fence whether he's going to try out things he picked up during his short gig in the NBA Summer League.

"I have been wrestling with this: How much do I bring to the team that's new. And then how fast do I bring it in? If I bring it right away or just disrupt us before we go into the playoffs? Do I wait until afterward? These are things I'm wrestling with right now because I have been exposed to some new things and I certainly like to try some of them out," he said.

But if there's an opportunity where Ginebra can afford to experiment, it would be this Phoenix game. (DD)

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