Tim Cone credits SMC bosses for help in Ginebra’s latest title run
MANILA, Philippines—Tim Cone has long been considered as a basketball savant throughout his tenure in the PBA.
The winningest coach in league history, Cone registered his 22nd championship when he led Barangay Ginebra to the 2019 Governors’ Cup over Meralco culminating in a 105-93 Game 5 win Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
A master of the triangle offense, Cone is oftentimes credited for the huge decisions his teams have made in their respective championship runs but this time, the basketball genius deflected the praise to whom he felt it should belong.
The acquisition of Stanley Pringle in the middle of the season was seen as one of the key factors that led the Gin Kings to their third Governors’ Cup in four years, but Cone said his involvement in the trade was little to none.
It was Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua who initiated the deal to get the one-time scoring champion from NorthPort and Cone’s only knowledge of the trade was getting information before it transpired.
“I really wasn’t involved in the process, that was all coach Al. He came to me and he mentioned that Stanley would be a great piece to our puzzle and he could lift us to another level,” said Cone. “He said ‘I think we can get him’ and then he went through all the work and I wasn’t really involved in it.”
Cone also gave credit to San Miguel Corporation Ramon S. Ang, who has always been hands-on in the decision-making.
“Everything we do go past our boss RSA. He’s involved in all of that, and it’s really amazing because here he is running this multi-billion dollar corporation, and he has time to really figure out what’s going on with all the basketball teams,” said Cone. “He’s an amazing man.”
The higher-ups’ decision paid off big time for the Gin Kings as Pringle averaged 18.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in the finals and was a contender to take home the Finals MVP plum.
“He’s [Ang] really the architect of all these teams and what we do and I’m just the guy on the steering wheel. He gives me all the tools and he really believes in equipping his guys and he does a great job of it,” said Cone.
Ginebra’s triumph in the Governors’ Cup meant that SMC has had a champion in 10 straight conferences and a title-holder in 16 years.
The last calendar year an SMC team failed to win a title was in 2003 when the champions were TNT, Alaska, and Coca-Cola.
“Al doesn’t look at San Miguel and say ‘I’m going to make San Miguel strong’ without making Ginebra strong, without making Purefoods strong,” said Cone. “He’s really good about equalizing all of us and keeping us competitive.”
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