By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
HAVING won practically everything there is to win in the Philippine Basketball Association, Tim Cone cannot be faulted if he decides to already take it slow. But the league’s winningest coach has signified he is anything but done, more so since he is coaching the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings.
Notched his 22nd championship in the PBA after guiding the Kings to the 2019–20 Governors’ Cup title over the Meralco Bolts in five games of their best-of-seven finals joust, Mr. Cone reiterated that now is not the time to slow down for him as he still enjoys the process of setting goals and achieving them.
“Winning never gets old. To watch our guys get excited and to push hard for something and to achieve it, and being part of that, is a really great feeling,” said Mr. Cone following their 105-93 title-clinching win over Bolts in Game Five on Friday.
It was the fourth time that Mr. Cone handed a title to the Gin Kings since moving to Barangay Ginebra in 2015, adding to the 2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup titles and the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup title.
Prior to taking the head-coaching duties with the Kings, Mr. Cone, 62, won 13 titles with the Alaska franchise and five with the San Mig Coffee and B-Meg (now Magnolia) franchise. In both franchises he won a league grand slam — Alaska (1996) and San Mig (2013-14).
Coaching Barangay Ginebra, Mr. Cone said, provides a feeling all its own, something that keeps him going well into his third decade of coaching in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
“The idea of coaching Ginebra is just a different feeling. It’s a great honor coaching Ginebra. It’s like coaching the national team. I’ve been coaching in the PBA for 30 years and coaching this team really reinvigorated me as a coach. All the attention from the fans, it really keeps you going and there is no time to slow down,” he said.
Immediate goal for Mr. Cone and the Kings is winning the All-Filipino title, something the team has not achieved under his watch.
He said they will use the momentum they got from their latest title conquest and bank on, and sharpen, the tools that they have at their disposal.
As for how long he will be coaching, Mr. Cone said that as long as he is enjoying it and his services are still needed he will continue.
“I’m enjoying it. My mentor Tex Winter (of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers) coached until he was 86. You’ll never know. I want to coach until that age. I doubt it if it will happen, but you’ll never know,” Mr. Cone said.