Record beckons for Cone
B-Meg coach now just one title behind leader DalupanBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
There was no doubt that B-Meg’s one-for-the-books triumph over gallant Talk ‘N Text in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title series Sunday night was all about the players, Denzel Bowles and James Yap in particular.
By carrying the Llamados to the epic win, Bowles and Yap completed their classy performance after also being named the Best Import and the Excelroof-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP, respectively.
So where does Tim Cone, the man who moved all the pieces, fit historically in all of this?
“I have only two goals in life, and I have made this no secret,” Cone told reporters, moments after the 14th title of his storied coaching career sunk in. “My goals are to catch Baby’s (Dalupan) record, and put my kids through college.”
Dalupan, the charismatic motivator who was the author of the PBA’s first Grand Slam with Crispa in 1976, is now just one title ahead of Cone, and Tim has a formidable team in the Llamados who look like they could win a handful more.
Cone won his first 13 titles with Alaska which, whether anyone admits it or not, he left bitterly before the start of the season. It ended a partnership that spanned more than two decades.
That all-time record by Dalupan is definitely there for the taking for Cone.
And Cone has Bowles and Yap to thank for moving him a step closer.
The duo was practically all that was left of B-Meg in the toughest of times in Game 7 with Yap keeping himself composed to find Bowles in the shaded lane for a brilliant pass that eventually sent the 6-foot-10 import to the line to forge overtime.
“For some reason, I knew he was going to make those two free throws,” Cone said of his prized import, who cried like a baby after tying the game for the last time at 76 with 1.2 seconds left in the final quarter.
“A lot of things just happened right for us in the end to win that game,” he added while giving credit to Talk ‘N Text for a courageous stand. “Is it destiny? I don’t know. I won’t know for sure how we won that basketball game.”
The amiable American mentor said he will do a lot of reviewing of the game tape to find out how they won Game 7, the first one in a title series that went into overtime since 1995, when he lost while coaching Alaska against Sunkist in the All-Filipino Conference.
In the meantime, Cone is basking in the limelight again, something which he obviously felt he couldn’t get from Alaska anymore, hence the earth-shaking news late last year when he transferred to B-Meg.
And while he did move within a title of Dalupan’s mark, Cone had this to say to the media before leaving Sunday night: “This win will definitely put my kids through college.”
Everyone laughed. And everyone was left to wonder how outrageous the bonus scheme at B-Meg is.