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Alaska Aces, minus Tim Cone, still in a daze

/ 10:28 PM October 01, 2011

The designated seat for me during the PBA Press Corps Awards  Night at the Topaz Room of the Gateway Suites in Cubao was at table 5, which I was supposed to share  with PBA superstars Arwind Santos, Mark Caguioa,  Dick Ildefonso, Rain or Shine consultant Andy Jao,  player agent Danny Espiritu and veteran  colleague Ronnie Nathanielsz.

But seeing that I was alone at the table after arriving early, Meralco governor Mon Segismundo invited me to join him at nearby table 2, which was  later occupied by  Meralco team manager Virgil Villavicencio,  NLEx president/CEO Ramon Fernandez, Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann , Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez and Francis Corona,  son of Chief Justice Renato Corona, the evening’s guest of honor.
I had asked PBA Press Corps president Tito Talao  why they had chosen  a non-sports personality like Corona to be  special guest  and he answered “Why not?”
Indeed, Corona’s  credentials are very impressive—a consistent honor student at the Ateneo de Manila, a diploma from Harvard, an MBA degree from Ateneo and a doctorate in Civil law from UST, summa cum laude.

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In his speech, Corona said he has been an avid PBA rooter since Day 1 of the league  37 years ago on April 9. In his college days, the Chief Justice was a varsity track and field athlete. His event was shot put.
* * *
With Dickie Bachmann seated immediately to my left, it was inevitable that the subject of Tim Cone would crop up.  But first I had to inquire about the condition of  Dickie’s father Kurt, a basketball Olympian.
Assured that Kurt was fine, I asked Dickie about the Cone-Alaska split. Dickie said the entire Alaska team is still in a state of shock, especially owner Fred Uytengsu, who, this weekend,  was on his way to Kona, Hawaii, on business.
“But Fred will make sure he’s back  for the game against Derby Ace on Wednesday,” Dickie said.
As everyone knows by now, Alaska’s coach of 24 years has moved over to the B-Meg camp. He will face his former team in the second week of the season. But will he be able to face Fred, who is probably still hurting from what most people might label treachery?
With still two years to his contract, Tim sought a release from Alaska, assuring his friend and employer that he did not plan to move to another team.
“But Fred is OK, he’s very professional about what happened,” Dickie said.
I did not ask him to elaborate.
In retrospect,  the Alaska camp speculates that the transfer of Tim Cone to B-Meg must have been a process that  took a whole year to negotiate.
“Up to draft day, we had no idea of what was going to happen,” Dickie said.
From what I gathered,  Tim will have another top executive position  in sports, apart from being B-Meg head coach.
I promised Dickie I will not miss the Alaska-B-Meg game on Oct 12. I made the same promise to myself.
* * *
I have not glanced at the game schedules, but I also made a promise to Mon Segismundo  to submit a critique on the debut of Meralco’s “Bakal Boys” around whom this season’s PBA campaign will be built.
The “Bakal Boys” or Ironmen are  Jason Ballesteros and Gilbert Bulawan from San Sebastian, Mark Yee and Bryan Faundo from Letran.
“Also joining the team are Chico Lanete  and Mark Macapagal.  Of course the return of Mac Cardona  equals D3 X 2. Deadly Dynamic Dazzlers X 2 in Mac and Sol,” said Segismundo.

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TAGS: Alaska Aces, Andy Jao, Arwind Santos, Basketball, Mark Caguioa, PBA, Sports, Tim Cone
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