Not just one, but many championships.
B-MEG coach Tim Cone announced that this was his goal for the Llamados at the team’s victory party for their Commissioner’s Cup victory on Tuesday at the San Miguel Corporation headquarters.
“It’s easy to win just one championship, but coming back and winning multiple championships, that’s really hard,” said Cone, who is no stranger to building dynasties in the PBA. He was the architect of the dominant Alaska machine that won nine championships in the 1990s.
Cone left the Aces’ franchise after 22 years last September, before taking over the reins of the Llamados. While the coach has maintained that he’s not under any pressure from management to win immediately, fans and observers couldn’t help but expect immediate results from Cone, especially with B-MEG’s talented lineup bannered by two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap.
Despite his warning not to expect much from the team initially, Cone piloted the Llamados to the best record after the eliminations of the Philippine Cup — a campaign that ended up in disaster after the team lost twice in the quarterfinals to the eighth-seed Powerade Tigers.
But B-MEG rebounded in the Commissioner’s Cup, winning the title behind Best Import awardee Denzel Bowles in a thrilling seven-game series over Talk ‘N Text.
After the finals, Cone was all praises for his players.
“They’re good guys,” he wrote in a text message to InterAKTV. “Hopefully we can put up some more wins together.”
Work never stops
But while the team is still in the throes of euphoria over its championship win, the Llamados — or at least some of them — will be back on the court soon to start preparations for the Governors’ Cup, which starts on May 20.
According to B-MEG assistant coach Koy Banal, the team’s coaches and third-stringers will soon report to practice to help import Marqus Blakely learn the squad’s system and get him ready for the season-ending tournament.
Blakely, a former star at the University of Vermont, arrived in town on the night of Game Five of the finals. He has joined a couple of B-MEG practices, helping the Llamados prepare for the last two games of the finals, but hasn’t gotten the opportunity to walk through the team’s plays.
Tribute to Talk ‘N Text
If there’s one model for the Llamados’ hopes of building a dynasty, Cone said it’s Talk ‘N Text, the same team they defeated in the finals.
Shortly after Game Seven, the coach paid tribute to the Tropang Texters.
“You have to do amazing stuff to be able to play a team like Talk ‘N Text.
“It’s one thing for a team to be talented, one thing for a team to work hard all the time. Talented and work hard everytime — that’s the description of Talk ‘N Text right now,” Cone said, adding that he wants the Llamados to embody those same things.
» 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
» Ginebra rolls through Talk ‘N Text to forge finals showdown with Alaska