Cone explains tune-up game vs Jordan five

ANOTHER intrigue was being thrown at Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel after the league’s crowd favorite played a tune-up game against the national team of Jordan Thursday at the CCF Gym in Ortigas.

The game happened almost a week after Ginebra politely turned down an invitation to compete in the first-ever MVP Cup, where the country’s own national team Gilas Pilipinas competed.

The MVP Cup was supposed to provide Gilas a few more games to fine tune its players and it’s system under first-time coach Tab Baldwin.

Newly installed Ginebra coach Tim Cone, however, has insisted that the games in the MVP Cup are in a totally different level compared to that one tune-up match they had against Jordan.

“That would have been in front of a lot of people and I don’t think our guys could handle it emotionally at that point. We could do it in a practice venue rather than in front of all the eyes of Araneta,” said Cone “That team is not anywhere near as good as Gilas. Gilas would have beaten us up and I’m not sure if we’re ready for that mentally to get beat up by teams.”

Ginebra scored an impressive 95-84 win over a Jordan squad coached by former Gilas mentor Rajko Toroman.

Cone, however, downplayed the victory and still insists their current condition would not be at par against Gilas or against the other teams that competed in the MVP Cup.

“We’re a lot different now because we’ve had like six to eight practices since that MVP Cup, so we are in a little higher level but the bottom line is we weren’t ready for primetime then, and we’re not ready for primetime now and this is not primetime,” said Cone.

TEMPERING TERRENCE. American head coach Tab Baldwin wants to temper expectations regarding the seemingly superb plays of GlobalPort superstar Terrence Romeo, who is now part of the national team collectively known as Gilas Pilipinas.

From Estonia to the Jones Cup in Taiwan and lately the MVP Cup here, local and even foreign basketball fans have been drooling at the potentials of Romeo which Fil-American Jordan Clarkson once compared to one of NBA’s iconic little man and former Most Valuable Player Allen Iverson.

But Baldwin’s concern is centered on a single objective other than enhancing a player’s image or individual skills.

“That might get the fans excited, but it doesn’t get me very excited because I want to win. I want to bring home a gold medal so the people of this country can be thrilled by watching their team play in the Olympics next year. That’s the only thing that I want to do and anything else is secondary to that,” said Baldwin.

In the recently concluded MVP Cup dominated by Gilas, Baldwin said he wants to see Romeo play the role where, as one of the team’s top guards, can make his teammates involved in their system.

“We need to put Terrence in that other role where he will not be a gunslinger coming off the bench. He’s got to be out there to control and manage the team and he’s got a long way in that regard because he still is a gunslinger,” said Baldwin.

Gilas Pilipinas will aim for the title in the upcoming FIBA Asia championships in Changsa, China where only the gold winner will advance to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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