Cone, Ginebra to sacrifice holiday break for PBA finals

MANILA, Philippines – The basketball grind does not stop for Tim Cone and Barangay Ginebra even with the holidays coming up.

Cone plans to squeeze in practice sessions in between Christmas and New Year as the Gin Kings gear up for another shot at a championship after punching their ticket to the finals of the PBA Governors' Cup. 

"We'll try to find a couple of days off here and there. You don't want to mess with your momentum. You take too much time off, you lose the momentum you have," Cone told reporters. "This is work for us."

"At this point, if you win a championship, you're going to be able to get your contracts and you're going to build your reputation as a player." 

Fortunately for Barangay Ginebra, a couple of days spent on the court will instead be devoted to family time as it disposed of NorthPort, 120-107, in Game 4 of their best-of-five semifinals on Friday, December 20. 

The best-of-seven finals will start on January 8 next year. 

But with a chance to win their third Governors' Cup title in 4 years on the line, Cone said it would not be a problem for his wards to put in the work even with other teams' players already enjoying their vacation. 

"I don't think they're going to ask for much time off. I think they'll be okay with it. Their families will be upset, my family is going to be upset, but they're all basketball peoples," Cone added. 

"They understand the game, they understand what it takes. We think we'll be okay. We'll find some time." 

For now, they await the winner between the other semifinals pairing, which TNT leads 2-1 against Meralco.

Cone said both teams will pose problems.

The Bolts are aching to avenge their back-to-back Governors' Cup finals losses to the Gin Kings in 2016 and 2017, while the KaTropa are seeking to win a title after falling short last conference. 

"[I]f we play Meralco, certainly we're not going to be in an advantage. Certainly at a disadvantage because we played them twice and we beat them twice and they're going to be super hungry to play us," Cone said.

"TNT has been in the finals recently also, so it's not really much of an advantage at this point." –

Delfin Dioquino

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.