By Jonas Terrado
LA Tenorio said Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s stunning loss to Blackwater Friday night should serve as a harsh lesson that he and the rest of the team can’t just flip the switch whenever they want to and begin the process of finding ways to regain the form that won them last season’s PBA Governors’ Cup crown.
Coach Tim Cone’s fear of seeing Ginebra’s championship hangover biting them in the face were finally realized two nights ago when a determined Blackwater side put on a stirring show and produced a 94-77 win at the Mall of Asia Arena, handing the Kings their first loss after three games in the Philippine Cup.
“We think that we can just switch on the game. Pag gusto namin, laro na kami, diba? Hindi pwede yun ganun,” Tenorio said after he was the last man to come out of the Ginebra locker room. “We have to play consistent and we have to play as if we’re the underdogs.”
While Ginebra started off the conference with two victories at the hands of Magnolia (89-78) on Christmas Day and GlobalPort (104-97) last Jan. 7, Cone felt that his team is just coasting along instead of having a sense of urgency like in past playoff matches.
Cone even suggested that a loss against GlobalPort, which faltered after leading by nine entering the fourth, would bode well for Ginebra. Instead, Murphy’s Law finally caught up with the Kings against the Elite.
“Blackwater wanted it more than us, we can’t come out resting on our laurels, we have to bring our game,” said Ginebra center Greg Slaughter, who at times was outmatched by Blackwater counterpart and former Ateneo teammate Poy Erram who registered 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Tenorio refused to cite the championship feeling or the injuries of Joe Devance, Sol Mercado and Art dela Cruz as reasons for the inconsistent play, but believes the loss can benefit them moving forward.
“Yung last game dapat talo na kami dun eh, and we didn’t learn from that,” he said. “Ngayon kung baga nangyari na yung dapat mangyari na supposedly na yung last game pa. So for me, I’m looking at this game as a positive sign for us kasi if we win na naman, parang it will hide again the room for improvement.
“I think this is the right time for us to look at kung anu yung mga dapat naming i-improve to be one of the contenders again. We cannot play this kind of game, especially going to the playoffs and playing the top teams. Kung we played against San Miguel, TNT or NLEX or whoever, Meralco, malamang tinambakan kami ngayon. So again, we just have to do better,” added Tenorio.
Ginebra won’t be seeing action until Jan. 21 against Alaska, enough time for them to have some soul-searching.
“I’m not worried about Alaska muna. We have to be worried about ourselves, the team, kasi di pwede yung ganitong laro namin,” Tenorio said.