Brgy. Ginebra turns to old tormentor Cone for redemption
Back in high school, a young Tim Cone found himself wrote on his school’s yearbook: “If the ups don’t come with the downs, there is no challenge, and if there is no challenge, there is no life.”
Eighteen championships and two Grand Slams later, the 57-year-old reflects on those words as he once again opens a new chapter in his already decorated career—with Ginebra, of all teams.
“All through my lifetime, I looked at challenges as something to keep yourself going. And no doubt, coming here to this organization with these guys and the hunger that they have, it really re-energizes you,” said Cone.
It’s quite a wild ride for Cone, who has steered Alaska and Purefoods, fierce rivals of the Gin Kings, to the promised land before.
From being one of the most despised figures on the court by the legions of Ginebra fans, he has now flipped the script and has been regarded as a savior of sorts, the man the barangay can count on to finally end the dry spell.
“I’ve had such fierce rivalries with coach Sonny (Jaworski) in the past when I was in Alaska, and when I was with Purefoods, the Manila Clasico,” he said. “There’s a dichotomy going on with it, of wanting your former players to do well but at the same time, wanting them to not have that for your team. That’s part of the business. Anything you do, you move on.”
A winner in every team he has been with, Cone admitted that Ginebra is due for some success, but it will take time.
“It’s just a matter how long it would take us, but even with the losing, I hope our fans can be happy because they saw that we play with our hearts and we play with that never say die attitude. The more patient they are, the more the learning comes. No shortcuts. The faster the learning comes, the faster the winning comes. That’s really the goal,” said Cone.
“I’m a very patient person when it comes to basketball. I’m experienced enough from 27 years of coaching that things don’t happen overnight. Maybe the people around me won’t be patient: the fans, the management, or even the players, even my wife, but I will be patient because I know that’s really the secret to success, to be patient and let things happen and I’ve seen that so many times in my career.”
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