PBA: Jojo Lastimosa takes page out of Tim Cone coaching manual to lead TNT’s resurgence
MANILA, Philippines–Jojo Lastimosa steered TNT to its first-ever PBA Governors’ Cup title on Friday night. And much of that, the interim Tropang Giga coach said, was made possible by taking pages off the playbook of Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“I learned so much from Tim on how he treats his players,” Lastimosa told the Inquirer on the heels of his charges’ 97-93 Game 6 triumph over defending champion Gin Kings at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I’ve told you this before—that he treats his players from No. 1 to the last guy on the bench the same way. No exceptions. There’s even bigger accountability for guys who are playing a lot more minutes. I made sure I followed that,” he added.
How to handle players was only one of the many things Lastimosa picked up from Cone during their years together at Alaska back in the ’90s.
Having high-character guys—from veterans to rising star and an import—that played their roles diligently was a formula Cone continued to hold close to his heart as he helped San Miguel clubs turn into dynasties.
The seasoned mentor had James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, and Mark Barroca play splendid basketball alongside Marqus Blakely at San Mig Coffee. Cone then had LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, and Scottie Thompson do the same with Justin Brownlee at Barangay Ginebra.
That night, Lastimosa found similar results with Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Mikey Williams, Roger Pogoy, and NBA veteran Ronde Hollis-Jefferson.
“We have solid vets who know to win—who have been there. Like Jayson and Kelly. Important leaders. They don’t take things for granted,” Lastimosa said.
“That’s huge for a team: Having a good combination of old vets and young (stars). The other players follow what the leaders are doing and that’s just how we are at Alaska back then,” he added.