It’s going to be a while before the Star Hotshots get comfortable seeing their old coach Tim Cone on the opposing side.
The team got a first look at Cone at the helm of Ginebra in the Hoop For A Cause benefit game on Friday night but the players and coaches all admitted that it felt strange seeing the American mentor on the other end of the court.
“Yeah, it’s weird, seeing coach Tim on the other side, seeing coach Richard (del Rosario) on the other side. But it’s also nice being beside coach Alex (Compton for the benefit game),” said Purefoods’ new head coach Jason Webb, who was taken in by Cone late in San Mig Coffee’s Grand Slam campaign in 2014 to become one of his assistant coaches, but has now found himself in charge beginning this season.
James Yap, the star of the Hotshots’ squad, also felt strange playing against his former coach, Cone, who led the team to five championships since taking over in 2012.
“Oo naman, of course,” Yap said after the Grand Slam vs. Ginebra showdown at the Cuneta Astrodome.
As a way of showing respect to their former coach, the players ran the triangle offense, the system used by Cone in many years of coaching in the PBA. The coach successfully ran that offense for both of his Grand Slam teams – the 1996 Alaska squad and 2014 San Mig Coffee team that teamed up to participate in this game against Cone’s current team.
“Kaya nag-triangle rin kami eh. Yun yung trademark ni Coach Tim. Lahat ng teammates ko kanina, kahit yung mas older sa amin, alam pa rin yung triangle,” Yap addded.
“Pero awkward lang. Wala tayong magawa andun na siya sa Ginebra.”
Guards PJ Simon and Justin Melton were excited to see Cone again since they parted ways, but they were likewise looking for the challenge against his coach now handling the league’s most popular team.
“You know what, it’s really awkward,” added Melton. “Thankfully, I can take a lot of things Coach Tim taught me and applied it on the court. Now, we’re up against each other. It’s cool and it’s fun.”
“Obviously, medyo strange ka, pero nakaka-excite rin,” said Simon.