When Tim Cone took centerstage after leading the B-MEG Llamados to the Commissioner’s Cup crown — his 14th championship — a familiar face was observing him at the stands.
Jojo Lastimosa was the star of Tim Cone’s first title in the PBA in the 1991 Third Conference. As player and coach, he and Cone won an astounding nine championships together.
“I’m happy for him,” said Lastimosa, who worked on the television panel for the Game Seven broadcast over AKTV on IBC. He recently left the coaching staff of the Alaska Aces to concentrate on his role in the company’s youth development program.
In his speech after the game, Cone thanked the B-MEG crowd, which made up majority of the 21,046 fans who showed up on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
“I have never in my life seen a crowd like you. Never,” Cone told the crowd.
“I try so hard to concentrate in the game, but when you yell, when you roar, I can’t concentrate anymore, I get goosebumps. It’s incredible even now.”
Lastimosa agreed with Cone’s assessment, saying the coach never had quite the same amount of crowd support on their mid-1990s dynasty teams.
“Tama naman siya eh. Yung crowd namin noon, na-sa-swamp,” said Lastimosa.
But the coach’s moves still remained familiar to him; in fact, Cone dug into the same bag of tricks he used in Alaska. For most of Game Seven, Cone and the Llamados relied less on the triangle offense and more on some set plays.
“Yun din yung mga play namin noon sa Alaska,” said Lastimosa.
Prior to the game, Cone quipped that his former player’s presence on the television panel may not be cramp his style.
“I hope Jojo doesn’t give too much away,” Cone said. “Because no one knows me better than Jojo.”
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