Cone laments heavy traffic, barely makes tip-off

MANILA, Philippines – Tim Cone rued the heavy traffic as he failed to give a pregame talk for the first time in his decades-long PBA coaching career. 

The winningest PBA mentor came in late for Barangay Ginebra in its Governors' Cup duel against Columbian on Friday, November 15, after spending almost 4 hours on the road from his home in Alabang.

"I've never missed a pregame talk, ever, in my 30 years. First time in 30 years I missed a pregame talk. Someone else had to do it," Cone told reporters. 

Cone did his part by leaving home at 3:15 pm – more than enough time to reach the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City and prepare his players before they took the court against the Dyip at 7 pm.

It was Friday, though, and it coincided with payday, meaning employees from all over the metro either went home to their respective provinces to spend the weekend or headed to malls to shop and eat. 

Fortunately, Phoenix forged overtime against Blackwater in the first game and eked out a 120-117 win, giving Cone an extra 20 minutes as he barely made it on time.

"Usually it takes me an hour, an hour and 40 minutes to get here even on a bad day. But today, really terrible," Cone said. 

"I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't get to the game until right at the buzzer-beater of the first game."

Everything ended well for Cone and the Gin Kings, though, as they cruised to a 113-90 romp that clinched them the twice-to-beat quarterfinal bonus. 

"If we're going to win by 23 points, I should miss more pregame talks," said Cone, who thanked assistant coach Richard del Rosario for getting the team ready, with a smile. "Maybe I should miss more of them." 

His tardiness, however, comes at a price, a savory one. 

"I have to buy pizza and cheese sticks. It's a big fine. I got to buy for the whole team," Cone said. 

Barangay Ginebra will look to end the elimination round on a high note when it faces NorthPort at the same venue on Sunday, November 17. – Rappler.com

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.

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