Tim Cone had that in mind when his team resumed practice, just days after Ginebra saw its title aspirations dashed following its 2-0 sweep at the hands of Rain or Shine on Tuesday (April 19).
Cone was telling me after practice that he expects import Othyus Jeffers to be dominant come the Governors Cup, much like what AZ Reid did after playing in the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors Cup last season.
If you remember, Reid, a former PBA Best Import while playing for Rain or Shine, came in to replace Ronald Roberts just 4 games into last season’s Commissioner’s Cup, where the height limit for imports is 6-9.
While the Beermen limped to a 4-7 card for a woeful 9th place (remember, SMB won the Philippine Cup in the previous conference), they eventually went 16-5 in the Governors Cup en route to winning the championship with Reid at the forefront.
The long-haired Reid played with relative ease in the third conference since he doesn’t have to deal with bigger imports.
Cone feels the experience Jeffers gained in the Commissioner’s Cup will make him a better player, now that he has a much better grasp of the triangle offense, along with the locals.
WATCH this Othyus Jeffers pass to rookie Scottie Thompson for an and1 play during one of the Kings’Commissioner’s Cup elimination round action:
He also expects Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar to get even better at the front court come the Governors Cup, having been pushed to their limit defending bigger imports.
WATCH Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter show his outside shooting as he starts to comfortably play within Cone’s “triangle offense”:
WATCH Japeth Aguilar soar for a block on Rain or Shine wide-bodied import Pierre Henderson-Niles in the quarterfinals.
Change is never easy. I can’t remember how many times Ginebra has changed coaches over the last 4 or 5 years and embraced new systems. Change. It’s one thing that people normally refuse to accept, especially when they are already accustomed to doing a particular thing.
But from my observation, Ginebra players are already buying in to Cone’s system. LA Tenorio and Joe Devance have served as “glues” or “extensions” of Cone to the players.
Yes, Ginebra’s title drought is 8 years and counting, but asked what Cone’s reminder is to the Kings’ legion of fans and I paraphrase, “just be patient and trust the process.”