DID coach Tim Cone not say he wanted a long series with Star?

Said Cone after his Barangay Ginebra defeated Alaska on Tuesday: “We are just glad to be in the semifinals against Star. But this is not our championship.”

Of course. Beating Alaska two games in a row was another coaching feat as Cone proved his prowess again by lifting the Gin Kings past the twice-to-beat disadvantage versus the Aces. But then, that was just the quarterfinals. More work, indeed, is in store for Cone.

And, in describing his series against Star, this was Cone’s take after ousting hard-luck Alaska: “I am looking forward to seven games against the Hotshots.”

OMG! What did he mean?

He’d go to heaven via hell—heaven being a Game 7 victory?

I have yet to hear a coach say such, ummm, crap?

Why can’t Cone say he’d want to finish off Star in four games? Wouldn’t that be an instant morale-booster for his boys?

Cone trying to be cute?

Humble effect?

After Cone’s semifinal-clinching 108-97 victory over Alaska, he said: “We certainly picked the right time to play our best game of the season.”

Two nights later, Cone and his Kings fell to their knees, bowing to the Hotshots via 74-78 loss that bizarrely exposed a kink in the Kings’ armor.

While LA Tenorio (career-high 31 points) and Aljon Mariano combined for 51 points in the win against Alaska, the duo could only chip in a total of 12 points against Star.

Adding to Ginebra’s Game 1 woes were the equally anemic games of Scottie Thompson and Kevin Ferrer, whose 8 and 7 points, respectively were a far cry from their outputs against Alaska. Then, Ferrer had 15 and Thompson 10.

And from a near-flawless game against Alaska, Ginebra had 24 turnovers against only 15 by Star even as the Kings could only score 28 points against the Hotshots’ 44 in the paint.

They play Game 2 today and, if we go by Cone’s own prediction, Ginebra should win to equalize. Then, in accordance with Cone’s will, we continue into a seesaw series all the way to Game 7?

Hard to tell. But meanwhile, Cone can’t afford another lapse as to not find someone to shackle Paul Lee, whose game-high 18 points on Thursday—capped by an endgame winning floater—keyed Star’s victory.

Surely, the game’s gods are watching. But will they listen to Cone?