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PBA: From losing season, Webb hopes for best

It’s a learning process, says the Star coach

Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Mahindra
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Phoenix

Jason Webb

Jason Webb

It could all be a matter of looking at the situation from a different perspective.

Star coach Jason Webb is hopeful that something positive will come out of their disappointing campaign this season capped by their elimination from the playoff race in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

“It’s a learning process,” said Webb following his first season as coach of the franchise.

“We’re going to reflect on it, give it a couple of days and from there, we’ll see what we can do to make the team better,” added Webb, who is expected to return for next season as coach of the squad.

Webb took over the Hotshots when management named then coach Tim Cone as mentor of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

While the Kings have flourished under Cone – especially this conference – the Hotshots struggled all conference, first with former Best Import Marqus Blakely and then with Joel Wright.

Through 11 games, Star managed just two victories, a 105-102 overtime win against Globalport last July 24 and a 104-103 thriller over Meralco last Sept. 4.

The triumph against the Bolts snapped a five-game losing skid – the longest in several seasons – and gave them flickering hopes to still make it to the crossover quarterfinal round.

But with their fate no longer in their hands, the Hotshots were eliminated even before they played their final two games in the eliminations, which both resulted to setbacks to TNT KaTropa (115-105) and Rain or Shine (108-97).

Overall, the Hotshots compiled a win-loss record of 11-22 this season, going 4-7 during the Philippine Cup and 5-6 in the Commissioner’s Cup. The difference during the first two conferences is that Webb was able to steer the team to the quarterfinal knockout stage.

The team got the No. 9 seed in the playoffs during the all-Filipino conference, but lost against No. 2 twice-to-beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (92-89). The following conference, Star took the No. 8 spot and battled No. 1 San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals.

Star import Ricardo Ratliffe, who replaced Denzel Bowles early in the elimination round, recorded 33 points and 29 rebounds in a 108-99 win, but Star lost in the ensuing do-or-die, 103-99.

“First conference was really a learning experience, getting used to it,” said Webb, referring to his new position as coach. “The second conference I think… we let that one slipped, we really had a good chance of making the semifinals.”

“This conference we let too many early games slipped. We started 1-4… and dumating ni Joel (Wright). Nung dumating si Joel mas lumala pa,” added Webb, laughing.

He then turned serious.

“Lessons learned, from the coaching staff standpoint,” Webb said. “We got to find a way to meet expectations that we set by laying the proper groundwork.

“All teams have strength and weaknesses. We’ve got to find a way to magnify our strengths and at the same time keep our weaknesses hidden from our opponents. We’ll try to do that.”