Tim Cone says Ginebra excited to restart season, win first Philippine Cup in 13 years

Even without Greg Slaughter in the fold, Barangay Ginebra is still set to field an intact and battle-tested roster once the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup resumes in a bubble in October.

Coach Tim Cone said Friday that the Gin Kings will be retaining the same championship core that won it all in the 2019-20 PBA Governors' Cup last January.

Traveling to the bubble in Clark, Pampanga are Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Jeff Chan, Joe Devance, Art dela Cruz, Jared Dillinger, Aljon Mariano, Raymond Aguilar, Prince Caperal, and Mark Caguioa.

Also on board are rookies Arvin Tolentino, Jerrick Balanza, and Kent Salido -- Barangay Ginebra's selections in the 2019 PBA Draft.

"Greg Slaughter is not on the list and will not play in the bubble. Otherwise, we are an intact team from the last championship back in January," Cone said in a text message.

Slaughter, who signed with top European agency BeoBasket last July, has yet to express his intention to return to the PBA after announcing that he was "taking a break" last February.

Though players are optimistic about finally restarting the season after six months, Cone admitted that the team will work to address the feeling of apprehension his wards may get from the uncertainty of the bubble and from being away from their families for two to three months.

"I think our guys are excited about getting back to playing, although there is a sense of trepidation because we're not 100% sure what to expect," he said. "We do know it is going to be a grind being away from family and sequestered in the bubble."

This will be something to keep an eye on for Barangay Ginebra, which is seeking to snap a 13-year title drought in the All-Filipino conference. Cone himself is looking to win his first Philippine Cup title with the Gin Kings and his first since 2014 with the Purefoods franchise.

"We will do everything we can to keep our guys mentally healthy," he said. "Still, there's a championship to pursue which is the crown jewel, the All-Filipino, and there is huge motivation in that."