For veteran basketball coach Tim Cone, he would already be proud of his career accomplishments in the year 2019. In particular, he was the man with the plan for the Philippine Men’s National Team aka Gilas Pilipinas when it played and ruled at the Southeast Asian Games held in the country this past December. But it looks like he can add another feather in his cap for the 2019 PBA season, even if it spilled over into January 2020. His current team the Barangay Ginebra quashed any illusions that the Meralco Bolts had of a fighting chance in the Governor’s Cup finals, taking away the series in Game 5, 4-1.
The Philippine Star has it that the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings finally put the Meralco Bolts out of their 3-1 series deficit misery last Friday, January 17. In doing so the team under the coaching leadership of Tim Cone claimed their one PBA conference title for the 2019 season, the others being hogged by the San Miguel Beermen. It was fitting perhaps that the best-of-7 Governor’s Cup finals, having reached the do-or-die stage for one team, would move to the Mall of Asia Arena for its fifth and concluding game.
Ginebra’s opponents the Bolts were still utterly hurting with the benching of their injured center Raymond Almazan. But that hurt was briefly converted by Norman Black’s team into the desperate physical power of a wounded animal. For the first half Norman Black’s Meralco was forcing the Gin Kings to pursue a point lead. But by halftime Cone was confident that the Barangay was ready to leap over what advantage the Bolts had, saying, “We were very sluggish early but when we made that little run at the end of the half, that gave us a lift (heading to the finish) and that was the key.”
Meralco import Allen Durham scored 29 points total for what turned out to be a delaying action towards the inevitable. His Ginebra counterpart Justin Brownlee was only less five with 24, but he had teammates Japeth Aguilar (25), Stanley Pringle (17), Scottie Thompson (14), and LA Tenorio (12) whittling away at the Bolts’ score. Not even the inspired play by Allein Maliksi and Baser Amer to help Durham could stem the Barangay tide. The final score was 105 to 93 for a hard-fought finals match.
Tim Cone’s victory for Ginebra this season has now tied him with the living legend Robert Jaworski in terms of number of titles won for the team as head coach (four apiece). This is also Cone’s 22nd PBA title in his long career with the league, shuffling through multiple teams.
Image from Manila Bulletin