Now that SEA Games 'plane' has already landed, Ginebra coach Cone looks forward to PBA semis vs. NorthPort

Stanley Pringle, who was stellar for Gilas Men in the SEA Games like Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, and Junemar Fajardo, may have to deal with fatigue as he quickly jumps back to action for Ginebra in the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals. PBA Media Group (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Coach Tim Cone bounced around his duties as Ginebra's head coach and Gilas Men's mentor for the Southeast Asian Games during the past month and a half, and he likened it to piloting an airplane.

"I've been using that for such a month ago," Cone said about the metaphor.

But just like planes making a landing at an airport, Cone added that his recent busy schedule was in an orderly manner.

"We had to land like an air traffic controller landing one plane at a time. If I try to land two plane, chances are we're all gonna crash or we're running to each other," he further said.

The first "airplane", according to Cone, was the Barangay's PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinal against the San Miguel Beermen.

"That was so hard," he said of that Nov. 24 game, where Ginebra won.

In the next two weeks, he dealt with Gilas Men's SEA Games men's 5x5 basketball stint, which was rewarded with the gold medal.

Now that the second "plane" has already landed, Cone is now shifting his focus to the Barangay's semifinal showdown against the NorthPort Batang Pier.

"Now, we're trying to land the next plane, and that is the semifinals," he continued.

Essentially, Ginebra only had little time to prepare since Game 1 is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

However, Cone made sure that his team will still be sharp as the Ginebra players not chosen for Gilas Men's final lineup still got to practice while the SEA Games were ongoing.

But he gave the four Gilas Men members, LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Greg Slaughter, and Japeth Aguilar, the Wednesday off and were to return to practice on Thursday.

The concern of Cone right now is on how to contain Chris Standhardinger, who Cone jokingly said now has an "antidote" on how to beat his team.

"[He] now knows everything that we do. He knows all of our plays and defense. He's gonna tell them all," Cone said in jest about Standhardinger, who was part of his Gilas Men team in the SEA Games.

Like Tenorio, Pringle, Slaughter, and Aguilar, Standhardinger will come in also exhausted, but with him being the Batang Pier's main man, their other locals may need to step up as well and not totally rely on import Michael Qualls.

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