Cone says TNT, Phoenix teams to watch out for
MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone knows when a team is on the cusp of something great and battling TNT for five games in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals gave him a glimpse of what the young club can do.
Cone sees a bright future ahead for the Tropang Giga, who are coming off an inspiring campaign in the recently concluded PBA Bubble.
TNT’s core is comprised of players who have yet to hit their 30s, with the exception of 31-year-old Poy Erram and 34-year-old Jayson Castro, and it’s this relative youth that Cone looks at as the catalyst for the franchise’s success in the coming years.
“I mean, they’re primed to really step into another level. Jayson I think has a couple of really good years left as long as he can stay healthy. But aside from that, their core is very young with Troy (Rosario), (RR) Pogoy and (Simon) Enciso and Bobby Ray (Parks Jr.), who’s still a second-year player,” said Cone.
“So they have a really, really young core that they’re going to build on, and I think they’re just going to get better and better.”
Cone, who has 23 titles under his name, said that TNT has the assets to rule over the league in the coming years if the other teams fail to take notice.
Apart from TNT, Cone said that Phoenix is another team that could make a splash in the coming years but the one constant that’s always in the mix is the dominance of San Miguel.
The Fuel Masters were a sight to behold in the bubble pushing TNT to the full five games in the semifinals while the Beermen still finished with a 7-4 record in the eliminations before losing to Meralco in the quarterfinals despite the absence of six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and three-time scoring champion Terrence Romeo.
“I think that if we’re all not careful, they will become the dominant team over the next few years. But, of course, San Miguel will have something to say about that,” said Cone.
“I also think the other team that people need to keep their eye on is Phoenix. They’re a talented team that has created chemistry, and I think that they could be a team to reckon with over the next few years as well.”