In any team sport, players’ ‘buy-in’ is integral to attain success.
If only half of a 12-man basketball team for example, believes in their coach’s particular system, chances are, they won’t be successful.
No wonder, Barangay Ginebra’s new coach Tim Cone is taking time to teach his patented triangle offense to the Gin Kings since they began practicing three weeks ago.
Playing the triangle offense is nothing new for Ginebra, since just over a year ago, the Kings ran the same system under Jeffrey Cariaso.
The Gin Kings, however, weren’t that successful playing under the complicated offense, as Cariaso lasted just two conferences.
Against the Jordan national team on Wednesday, Cone was pleased to see Ginebra run the ‘triangle’ very well for the first time since they began training three weeks ago.
Big men Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter finished with 20 and 17 points, respectively as both big men wreaked havoc in the paint to lead Ginebra to an easy 94-85 win.
Cone said he was also happy to see Caguioa ‘buy in’ to the system after contributing nine points, while Tenorio reverted to his dribble-penetration the way he used to during his heydays with Alaska.
“Mark seemed to have a good buy-in on offense, while LA has been doing his penetration and playing like he did with Alaska,” the American coach said.
While Ginebra fans are accustomed to seeing veteran guards like Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and in recent years, Tenorio, run the show for the team, Cone intends to maximize the team’s main strength starting next season – the bigs.
Ginebra’s ‘Twin Towers’ are undoubtedly, Ginebra’s biggest advantage in the years to come.
The 6-foot-11 Slaughter is coming off double-double averages of 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds during his second season, while the high-leaping Aguilar submitted 11.6 points and 7.6 boards.
While those numbers are good enough to merit a spot among the top 10 or top 20 scorers/rebounders, Cone is well aware of the damage both big men can do if they get them on the right spot.
Aguilar and Slaughter gave everyone a sneak of what they can do under the ‘triangle’, though Cone threw caution in the wind.
“It’s so early right now, but we saw some good things, some real coordination with Greg and Japeth. And that’s what we’ve been battling for,” Cone said.
“But we’re not gonna get too excited with this one. (In fact), I’d prefer them not to get excited but to work harder and improve. We’re not gonna let this one slow us down,” added the pro league’s all-time winning coach with 18 titles.