Tough grind for Kings; Fil-German joins draft
DEFENDING champion Barangay Ginebra is sitting at the top of the team standings in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup halfway through the tournament and coach Tim Cone is certainly pleased.
Carrying a 6-1 mark approaching the homestretch of the elimination round, the Gin Kings are at the top of the heap and have already secured a place in the quarterfinals.
The Gin Kings are currently the league’s hottest team, having won six straight games after dropping their opening assignment.
None of those victories were as thrilling as their 105-101 escape win over Star last Sunday night in a game that presented a playoff atmosphere.
That was actually Ginebra’s first close game of the tournament as all of its wins have come via a wide margin.
Cone explained why his wards are doing so well in their title defense thus far and why he is impressed with how they are functioning.
“Our guys are veteran guys. They have strength, character and discipline minds,” said Cone. “Our guys help each other out in all areas so I can’t complain that much and we’re 6-1, too.”
The winningest mentor in the league then went on to discuss what lies ahead for Ginebra in the crucial part of the eliminations as it tries to seal a top four finish and a twice-to-beat incentive in the next phase.
“We got Blackwater next then San Miguel coming up, back-to-back games this week. Blackwater is on a roll, won four of five and San Miguel is looking to go on a run, so we really got a couple of tough teams ahead. All we have are hard teams ahead of us. We beat the struggling teams but the teams ahead of us are either tied or are just below us so this stretch is really a test for us,” said Cone.
Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee, who is giving the Gin Kings whatever they need as expected of him, likely shared his sentiments on his team’s stretch ahead.
Meanwhile, a talented batch of Fil-foreign ballers led by Gilas Pilipinas big man Christian Standhardinger have made themselves available for the 2017 PBA Draft on Oct. 29.
The 6’7” Standhardinger, a Fil-German by birth, submitted his application thru email to PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa early Monday.
The 28 year-old Standhardinger became an instant celebrity among basketball loving Filipinos, who marvelled at his hard-nosed style of play in the Jones Cup, FIBA Asia Cup and in the Southeast Asian Games.
Also in the list are Fil-Americans Jason Perkins, Davon Potts and Fil-Swede Andreas Cahilig, who powered the Cignal Hawkeyes to a conference sweep of the PBA D-League Aspirants’s Cup and Foundation Cup championships.
Completing the pool of this Fil-foreign aspirants are Fil-Americans Roberth Herndon and Julian Sargent, Fil-Israeli Felix Apreku and Fil-Canadian Zachary Nichols.