Powerhouse Kings, Beermen try to recover from shock losses

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Christian Standhardinger (with ball) was disappointed with his first game for Ginebra and has vowed to improve. —PBA IMAGES

Tim Cone lamented the appalling performance of his accusers who opened their bid for title retention in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup last Sunday.

But he’s been in this game long enough to know there’s a process to certain things.

“Obviously we didn’t come to play NLEX in the opener,” he told the Inquirer on Thursday. “But we are no strangers to slow starts.”

However, Cone hopes Barangay Ginebra is able to get things going when it gets caught up in a Blackwater side teetering from two lopsided losses as action resumes Friday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, where the PBA continues with yet another extraordinary season amid threats and logistical hurdles from the pandemic.

“We still have a lot of work to do before we can feel like we’re playing good basketball,” said Cone, the only coach to have won a Grand Slam with two different teams.

Interestingly enough, Cone’s view also applies to the once dynastic San Miguel Beer, who also suffered a defeat on their season debut.

But the 1-1 Road Warriors are standing in the way of the Beermen’s drive to get back into shape, who have plenty to gain from those 94-75 lashes from defending champion Gin Kings.

And what makes it even more difficult for San Miguel is the absence of Terrence Romeo, who pinched his ankle and knee during a 93-87 loss to Meralco.

“He still can’t play” [on Friday]said team manager Gee Abanilla. “But on the plus side, are [ligaments] are all intact.”

“Yet he needs time to heal and get back into his groove through therapy, rehabilitation and supervised training,” he added of Romeo, who led all of San Miguel’s scorers by 18 points before entering the game early. left the last period.

Cone believes Ginebra can move toward good basketball if it does the following:

“One of them, of course, is to integrate Christian (Standhardinger) more into the system,” he said.

[A]nd two, controlling our player rotations,” he added. “We expect to get better.”

Standhardinger, the high-motor, high-IQ striker the Kings acquired during the off-season, appears to be on par with his new coach.

“The expectation is to make good shots, try to train my teammates. And I have to adapt [my] new role, and I will do my best to do that,” he said.

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