MANILA, Philippines – It’s official: 18-time PBA champion head coach Tim Cone is set to take over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
The announcement was made official during a press conference held at the headquarters of the San Miguel Corporation on Thursday afternoon, July 23, which was attended by Cone himself and members of both Purefoods and Ginebra management.
Jason Webb, an assistant coach of Cone’s last PBA season with the Hotshots, will now take over the team as head coach.
There were many reports surfacing throughout the past week that Cone was set to take over the popular Ginebra franchise, which has gone without winning a PBA championship for over the past 8 seasons.
The said reports were eventually confirmed by San Miguel big boss Ramon Ang on Monday, July 20. On Wednesday, it became official.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge and starting a new relationship with Mr. Marquez (Ginebra president) and the whole Barangay team,” said Cone.
“I think the hardest thing for a Ginebra coach is trying to meet expectations and we want to kinda dampen expectations for a little bit. It’s going to take some time - it always does.”
Ginebra, who had 3 coaches in each PBA conference last season - Jeff Cariaso, Ato Agustin, and Frankie Lim - failed to advance past the quarterfinal round in any conference.
The last time the team made a semifinal appearance was in the 2013-2014 Philippine Cup, where, ironically, they were eliminated by a then Cone-coached San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Cone leaves behind a lasting legacy with the Star Hotshots, which he coached to 5 championships after being hired in September 2011 - including a Grand Slam in the 2013-2014 season.
Last PBA season, the Hotshots made it to the playoffs in each conference, but failed to make a finals appearance.
Cone won his first 13 titles with the Alaska Aces, which he also coached to a Gran Slam in 1996.
With Ginebra, the 57-year-old mentor will get to coach a team that’s filled with talented pieces.
“The challenge is there, and it really is just going to come down to “Can I get the players to buy in?” to what we’re going to do,” said Cone.
“To me, where I really feel like I can bring a lot to the team is to get them to buy-in defensively.”
The roster Cone will get to work with to implement his brand of the Triangle Offense includes Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Ellis, Mark Caguioa, Mac Bacarael, and Rodney Brondial.
“I’ve always been a big men’s coach… I’ve always enjoyed coaching big men, and so, having Greg and Japeth there is very, very exciting. So, there’s a great opportunity to get with them and try to get them grow. The Triangle System is inside-out, so you look inside then you play out, so that’s going to go to the strengths of Japeth and Greg.”
Cone may also once again get to coach point guard LA Tenorio, whom he had with the Aces from 2008-2011.
Cone, who said he was sad to leave behind the players he developed good relationships with in Star, also said that Tenorio, Caguioa, and other wing players in Ginebra will get their opportunities as well, but did mention that, right now, Ginebra’s roster construction is still not well-balanced.