Cone tells Mixers: Winning time isn’t over yet
THERE’S an iconic snapshot of four of the country’s greatest basketball minds right inside Tim Cone’s room.
It’s a picture of him with fellow PBA Grand Slam coaches Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan, Tommy Manotoc and Norman Black.
He’s gone one up on the rest of that group and yet Cone still finds it quite unbelievable to be standing alongside those coaches. And he always speaks of them with awe, even after having surpassed all their achievements.
“The thrill of thrills for me is being mentioned along with them,” said Cone after receiving the Baby Dalupan Coach of the Year trophy named after “The Maestro,” who won 15 titles, including a Grand Slam with Crispa in 1976.
It is this trait—deflecting glory even when glory presents itself—that endears him to his boss, San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang, who used his speech after winning the Danny Floro Executive of the Year Award to praise Cone.
“Si coach Tim, napakabuting tao (Coach Tim is a very good man),” Ang said during the PBA Press Corps Awards Thursday night at Richmonde Hotel in Eastwood City.
“Hindi siya kagaya ng ibang tao na napakaraming istorya sa buhay. Simpleng tao po ito at talagang napaka-dedicated sa trabaho. (He’s not like others who have many goings-on in their lives. He’s a simple man and very dedicated to his job).”
Humility and simplicity, though, is just gravy on top of the one thing that Cone does for Ang: Win championships.
Cone has already obliterated Dalupan’s long-standing record by collecting 18 PBA crowns. And while Dalupan, Manotoc (1983, Crispa) and Black (1989, San Miguel Beer) pulled off the Grand Slam feat once, the American mentor has done it twice, with Alaska in 1996 and with San Mig Coffee this year.
“I think Tim, you’re the best coach I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Ang.
PBA legend Atoy Co, a member of the Crispa Grand Slam team, while on stage sharing his triple-crown testimonial, jokingly challenged the 56-year-old Cone to go for another trifecta.
“Kami po ’yung nag-champion ng anim na sunod kaya hinahamon ko po si coach Tim Cone na manalo ng anim na sunod (We won six straight championships so I’m challenging coach Tim Cone to win six straight),” said Co, drawing laughter from the audience. “Kayang-kaya n’yo. (You can do it.)”
No one should think it’s beyond Cone and San Mig to pocket another Grand Slam. Especially since Cone isn’t underestimating the Mixers.
“First thing I told my players: Our time is not yet over. We still have championships to win,” said Cone. “It takes a special group, a unique group to win a Grand Slam.”
It takes a special coach, too.
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