Nasorpesa si Coach Tim Cone at ang Ginebra dahil biglang nag-small ball ang TNT KaTropa sa tipoff ng opening game ng 2019 PBA Philippine Cup sa Philippine Arena Linggo nang gabi.
Pero agad nakabawi ang Gin Kings, humarabas ng 18-point lead bago naigapang ang 90-79 win sa harap ng higit 23,000 crowd na dumagsa sa opening day ng 44th season.
“They started with four small, we were very concerned because we didn’t know how we were going to match up,” pahayag ni Cone sa postgame news conference.
“Luckily, they didn’t shoot the 3-ball as well as they normally do. We were able to control the tempo on the inside so they weren’t able to get to the transition game as much as I think they would’ve liked.”
Kitang wala pa sa kondisyon ang ilang players ni Cone, pero dahil inalat sa 14 of 39 sa field at 7 for 23 sa 3-point range ang Texters, umagwat ng hanggang 44-26 ang Gins sa first half.
Ang bagong salta mula NLEX na si Michael Miranda lang ang legitimate big na starter ni TNT coach Bong Ravena, isinahog kina Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, Ryan Reyes at Don Trollano.
Sa kabilang banda, pinagsabay ni Cone sina Greg Slaughter at Japeth Aguilar, kasama sina LA Tenorio, Aljon Mariano at Scottie Thompson.
“Puts a lot of pressure on Greg and Japeth to play out of their comfort zones, but they did a good job of it,” dagdag ng coach.