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December 15, 2019

Birthday win remains elusive to Cone

Coach Tim Cone turned 62 last Saturday and for a change, he would have wanted to get a W for his team, Barangay Ginebra.

But the basketball gods didn't cooperate, as usual, and the celebrated coach's birthday "curse" remains, well, unbroken.

"Saturday's my birthday and we never won on my birthday but that's the next job," Cone said right before Ginebra opened its PBA Governors Cup semis duel with NorthPort.

On his big day, the Gin Kings lost, and they lost badly, 90-124, and they're now hard-pressed to bounce back strong in the short race-to-three contest to make up for the spoiled natal celebration and stay on course for their ultimate goal.

"They beat us in all facets of the game so we gotta come back better the next time," said a dejected Cone.

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The Gin Kings were in the thick of things up to the first four minutes of the third before Michael Qualls, Christian Stanhardinger and hot-shooting Garvo Lanete took them out of it.

"It was a very ugly performance, it's embarrassing, they wanted it more than we did and one of the worst first games I've been been involved with," rued the grand-slam champion coach.

It was the exact opposite of how he envisioned things after returning to the PBA action coming from GIlas Pilipinas' triumphant campaign in the Southeast Asian Games. Cone, his assistant coaches and players LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter, barely had turnaround time from the SEAG back to Ginebra's semis campaign.

Cone refused to blame the fatigue from the SEAG for this, though.

"No, I just think lack of preparation did (Ginebra in). We didn't prepare as well as we could have.

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But they had their guys (Standhardinger) missing too (due to SEAG commitment) but we have most of our coaching staff (there, too), so we weren't ready.

"They surprised us with their zone and we didn't handle the zone well. They changed their defense up, they really did a good job and came in with a good game plan," said Cone.

The Gin Kings don't need much motivating to go for a rebound in Game 2.

"We definitely don't wanna be down 0-2," said import Justin Brownlee. (OL)