In his fruitful 23-year coaching career, B-MEG coach Tim Cone doesn’t want for much.
“I have two goals left in life: send my kids to college, and catch up with Baby,” he said.
“Baby” would be the PBA’s “Maestro” Virgilio Dalupan, the legendary coach who holds the record for most titles in the league at 15.
After leading the Llamados to the Commissioner’s Cup crown on Sunday, Cone moved just one championship short of tying Dalupan’s record.
Ironically, Cone was a Toyota fan who grew up hating Dalupan, the architect of Crispa’s dynasty in the early years of the PBA.
“Man, I really hated him because he was coaching the wrong team being the arch nemesis of my favorite team Toyota. And he and his team was so successful,” said Cone.
The early days of the PBA played a big role in shaping Cone’s basketball sense, and Dalupan played a big part in that.
“People don’t realize, I grew up in the Philippines. I learned my basketball here,” he said.
He soon developed a grudging admiration for Dalupan as he got older.
“When two teams with equal talent like Crispa and Toyota go at it, one thing you will realize is it will boil down the leadership and Crispa was so successful because of Dalupan’s leadership.”
As fate would have it, Cone’s first championship appearance as a coach in the PBA came against Dalupan in the 1990 Third Conference.
“He beat me up,” said Cone with a laugh.
That was Dalupan’s last title in the league, and it came with the same Purefoods franchise that Cone coaches today — a curious twist of fate.
As for his other goal?
“This championship will help me send my kids to college,” quipped Cone shortly after his Commissioner’s Cup victory.
» From the stands, Tim Cone watches old team Alaska demolish Ginebra in Game Two of finals
» Ahead of finals, Luigi Trillo gets encouragement from old Alaska coach Tim Cone
» Alaska makes return to finals, this time without old maestro Tim Cone