MANILA, Philippines - Instead of feeling elated after dominating the San Miguel Beermen, 104-84, to advance in the semifinals of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup, Tim Cone said he was just relieved that his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel squad got the job done.
“I am not joyful, just relieved. They are such a great team and they are so well-coached,” Cone said on Wednesday, September 27.
The sentiments of the PBA’s winningest coach are understandable, especially since the matchup was expected to go down-the-wire. San Miguel had just won the championships of the season’s other two conferences and were hungry to win the title in order to fulfill their grand slam aspirations.
Instead, Ginebra staged a show of their own by punishing the Beermen to their worst loss of the conference.
But despite having a 20-point lead midway the fourth quarter, Cone admitted he still did not believe that they would take home the victory.
“The only time I felt safe in the game was 102-72. That was the first time that I thought, ‘Wow we might win this game,’” Cone said.
“We were in the right place and at the right time and we caught them on a bad night and it was a good night for us.”
Having won two grand slams with the Alaska Milkmen in 1996 and San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in 2014, Cone said he could not help but feel bad for their “huge rivals.”
“I know what it’s like to try and win that grand slam, I know what it is like to lose a grand slam. I know it is tough for coach Leo [Austria], he has battled all year long and got that team playing at a high level.”
Ginebra will face the winner between the TNT KaTropa and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who will meet in a knockout game on Friday in the semis, and the 59-year-old mentor wants his wards to get over the “championship hangover” they are experiencing after trouncing San Miguel.
“We’re gonna put this away quickly and then move on. That’s gonna be the message in the locker room, this game is over. The job is not finished yet,” Cone added. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.