By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings are having a solid run in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in the last half decade, something the team attributes to a conscious effort to have all members buy into a winning culture.
The most recent of the team’s achievements was winning the Philippine Cup in an extraordinary “bubble” setup last year amid the conditions with the pandemic.
Barangay Ginebra was the last team standing after two months of competition where the participants were holed up in a biosecure location at Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga, for the duration of the tournament.
It was the fifth title for the Kings in the last five seasons.
Quoted by the official PBA website, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone shared that the success they have been having is largely because of every team member’s willingness to do their share in seeing their collective cause through.
Be it the individual work ethic of every member on the court and in practice and how they treat one another, the dynamics have been fluid, the multi-titled coach said, reaping good dividends for them.
Mr. Cone paid tribute, in particular, to the efforts of veterans like LA Tenorio, Joe Devance, and Mark Caguioa in championing the team’s culture and making sure everyone is on the same page.
“They accepted that culture and modeled that culture. They’re superstars in their own right, but they still stayed with the culture,” said Mr. Cone on pba.ph.
“These are certain cultures that we tried to inculcate with the guys. Luckily, we have great models,” he added.
All three veterans took part in their team’s championship bubble conquest, providing leadership and guidance both on and off the court.
Mr. Tenorio even won the finals most valuable player award.
It is the same tack the Kings are banking on as they angle to continue their winning ways in Season 46 of Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
Barangay Ginebra will be parading a new face in Christian Standhardinger when the new season unfurls.
Mr. Standhardinger was recently acquired by the team in a one-on-one deal with NorthPort Batang Pier for fellow big man Greg Slaughter.
The arrival of Mr. Standhardinger is widely considered as fortifying further the standing of the Kings as one of the teams, if not the team, to beat in the PBA.
Mr. Cone said their new acquisition will be a boost, but the result is not going to be automatically a “given” and that work needs to be done both for Mr. Standhardinger and the entire team.
“Christian has got to probably learn to kind of initiate our offense and be a little bit more patient than he normally is. The key will really be our culture, how he (Standhardinger) fits in our culture. That’s really paramount to us.”
SEASON START BLOW
Meanwhile, the PBA’s targeted April 18 opening for its Season 46 is highly likely to be deferred anew no thanks to the extension of heightened quarantine restrictions in the Greater Manila Area because of the spike in cases of the coronavirus.
The league originally pegged the season kickoff on April 11, but then delayed it by a week to give the teams more time to prepare and for the PBA to evaluate further the direction it would take, including a suitable venue for its tournaments.
Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were placed under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 4 but the government extended it until April 11 as the cases remain high.
League officials admitted it dealt a blow to their season start plans.
The league board is set to reassess the direction it will take in the coming days, pending further local pandemic developments and instructions from authorities.
For Season 46, the PBA is looking to stage two conferences running for 10 months and the league’s inaugural 3×3 tournament.