By REYNALD MAGALLON
If Ginebra head coach Tim Cone would have his way, he would want to have Game 1 of the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against TNT sooner rather than later.
The series opener between the Kings and the Tropang Giga are set on Easter Sunday, April 9, giving both teams ample time to prepare for the marquee seven-game series duel.
However, with Ginebra taking a much earlier break than scheduled following its unexpected sweep of San Miguel, Cone lamented at the possibility of his charges losing the momentum and the good rhythm they built during the quarterfinals showdown with the Beermen
“It’s almost too long. I mean we are in a good rhythm right now we’ve been playing well. You want to stay in game shape. It’s gonna be 10 or 11 days before we play again so it’s hard to stay in game shape,” said Cone.
Cone can’t be blamed for feeling that way as Ginebra actually made history in that series winning their first sweep in a best-of-five series in their franchise as well as dealing SMB its first winless run a best-of-five affair.
On top of that, Christian Standhardinger, Scottie Thompson, Jeremiah Gray, Jamie Malonzo and Justin Brownlee all looked sharp for the Finals showdown.
“Not like we wanted to go another day, I mean we’ll take this (sweep) rather than the alternative, rather go to Game 4 and 5. It exhibits its own problems (but) those are the problems we have to overcome over the next 10, 11 days, make sure the guys take charge. We‘re not gonna take the expected vacation or break. We’ll work everyday,” he added.
If there’s something that the long break would bring for Ginebra, that should be the time for their injured players to recuperate and heal, particularly big man Japeth Aguilar who has been out with a knee injury.
The fact that this is a 10-day break before we play there’s an opportunity only, nothing’s written in stone for sure but he could be ready by Game 1. We’ll see but barring any setbacks there’s a chance,” said Cone.
Aguilar’s possible return should be a welcome boost for the defending champions especially with a formidable challenger waiting led by TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.