Tim Cone lauds ‘very deep’ San Miguel after Ginebra exit

Ginebra coach Tim Cone in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals against San Miguel. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Multi-titled coach Tim Cone gave credit where credit is due after Ginebra was given the boot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup by San Miguel.

After the Gin Kings’ Game 3 94-91 loss to the Beermen that ended their Commissioner’s Cup reign, Cone made sure to laud the opposing side for a dominant string of games.

“They’re playing at a high level, [they’re a] tough team, they’re very deep as well. First night it was CJ (Perez), second it was (Marcio) Lassiter and he had a great night again but (Jericho) Cruz stepped up tonight. They have someone every night that can step up and enhance what (Bennie) Boatwright and June Mar (Fajardo) are doing,” said the veteran tactician.

“They really out-coached us and all we could do is tip our hats to them.”

It wasn’t an easy sweep for San Miguel, by any means.

WATCH: Coach Tim Cone tips his hat to San Miguel after being eliminated in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semis. | @MeloFuertesINQ pic.twitter.com/RUYDQSWqsk

— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) January 28, 2024

The Gin Kings put up a fight for all three games with the game differential being only five points.

But Ginebra couldn’t seem to sustain the fight until the payoff period, giving the Beermen chances to capitalize and secure the win before the final buzzer.

San Miguel, however, perfectly flaunted its depth. Cruz, who performed poorly in Games 1 and 2, exploded at the right time for the Beermen with 17 points on Sunday.

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Beermen import Boatwright, meanwhile, was just ramming defenders left and right, putting on scoring exhibitions every game and scored 26 in Game 3.

But despite those, Cone didn’t discount how hard his men played against a team that “made adjustments every game.”

“We could’ve played better but I don’t think we could’ve played harder. We played hard. They laid it on the line and just came up short on a team that’s really on a roll. Big credit to coach Jorge and the staff, they came up with adjustments in each game that gave us problems,” said Cone.

Tony Bishop popped off with 25 points and eight rebounds but it wasn’t enough to keep Ginebra’s PBA Finals hope alive. Scottie Thompson was active on all ends of the floor with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists but it was all for naught.

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With San Miguel marching to the PBA Finals, Cone said that the Beermen will have a tough time for either Magnolia or Phoenix once the best-of-seven series begins.

“They’ll be a tough team in the Finals. Either one of those teams (Hotshots or Fuel Masters) will have a heck of a hard time beating San Miguel.”

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