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‘We had a great run’: Young Ginebra squad remains positive despite heartbreaking loss
Sports5 file/Paolo Papa
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the league’s top seeded team after the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup eliminations, may have fallen short of expectations in the eyes of many after losing to the fifth-ranked San Mig Super Coffee Mixers.
But though they lost in a heartbreaking Game Seven rout, 110-87, the Gin Kings have a few positives they can look at after a campaign that ultimately exceeded their own goals going in.
“We had a great run. We end up number one in the elimination but medyo bumaba yung game namin sa quarterfinals,” said Ginebra veteran guard LA Tenorio.
“Naging inconsistent yung team namin eh. Our team is mostly mga bata rin. Siguro it’s a learning experience for them, especially yung mga batang player namin.”
Tenorio said Ginebra was not expecting to be a contender so soon after adding key pieces like rookie Greg Slaughter and star forward Japeth Aguilar.
“Actually, nagulat talaga kami na nag-number one kami. We were winning so dinerediretso namin and we could see that we could do it. We can win games. Kasi ang format naman ng all-Filipino, paramihan ng panalo. Nangyari yun,” he said.
“Siguro yung ibang teams nagulat rin. Hindi ine-expect na mag-ma-mature kaagad yung team namin.”
The team won nine of their first 10 games en route to an 11-3 record after the elimination round.
Their twin towers of Aguilar and Slaughter, too, took the league by surprise as they finished second and third in the race for the Best Player of the Conference award’s statistical race.
Expectations skyrocketed after that and though they finished better than they initially thought they would, the team can’t help but feel disappointed in the campaign.
“I think we’re a young team. Still, I know everyone was expecting higher. And it sucks when you don’t meet those expectations,” Slaughter said.
“But I thought we had all the tools to be a good team. We just didn’t make it happen.”
“Of course I’m disappointed, kasi the fact that we’re the number one team at the end of the eliminations, (then) we ended up number three or four. We’re supposed to be in the finals,” Tenorio agreed.
Tenorio, though, added all the team needs is a little more time working together as a unit.
“Just like (San Mig Coffee), they started rin naman hindi ganun ka-solid eh. We just need games like that. We just need to experience these kinds of losses. Para maramdaman namin, for the next time makarating kami dito,” said Tenorio.
“They know the feeling, playing in a Game Seven. They’re so composed and solid. Hopefully, next conference we can advance to the next level.”
And though there’s plenty of disappointment around the Ginebra camp at the moment, they know there are positives to look at from their Philippine Cup campaign.
“This is our first conference together like this. We’ve been learning through the whole conference. You know we’re still young, just three months old,” Slaughter said.
“I think that’s a positive sign. We know how to win games. We know the winning formula. We just have to be consistent. Yun lang talaga,” said Tenorio.
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