Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Jeff Cariaso believes there is room for improvement even after the Kings lost to the Changwon LG Sakers, 81-76, in their exhibition game dubbed Asian Basketball Showdown Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We’re still in the preparing stages for the upcoming season,” said Cariaso, whose team is now 0-2 in tune up games after losing to PBA expansion team Kia Sorento (73-71) last week.
“We’re at best 60 percent of where we want to be. Last night was a big leap in our preparation. It gave us an idea where we are at this point, what we need to improve on. I felt we got a little better after last nights game,” added Cariaso.
Ginebra’s incoming sophomore center Greg Slaughter echoed the assessment of Cariaso.
“I think we got good experience playing a team that executes as well as LG,” Slaughter said. “It was a good measure for us on what we need to get better on. Right now I’d say we’re at about 60-70 percent.”
American import Christopher Massie led the visiting team with 24 points, 14 rebounds and three assists – two of which came in the final moments of the game presented by LG Electronics.
The 6-foot-7 Massie’s assist to sharpshooter Kim Yong Hwan led to back-to-back three-point conversions that gave the Sakers a 79-71 advantage with 38.2 seconds left in the game.
Massie, 37, was named MVP of the game.
Forward Ki Seung Ho contributed 21 points punctuated by three triples, while playmaker Kim Si Rae came off the bench with 13 points for the LG Sakers, a popular team in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
Ginebra, the PBA’s ‘crowd darling’, got 23 points and 12 rebounds from 7-foot center Slaughter, while forwards Chris Ellis and Mac Baracael contributed 13 points apiece.
Ginebra’s veteran point guard LA Tenorio and high-leaping forward Japeth Aguilar did not play since both just arrived from Spain after seeing action for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.