The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings have just won their fourth straight game and that gives Tim Cone reason to be pleased while heading into the stretch run of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
But before Cone and his wards resume their red-hot campaign, the winningest coach in PBA history will make a pitstop with the 2017 PBA All-Star Week festivities, where he will have a chance to coach some of the league’s best players, including his old ward James Yap.
“I’m gonna have a reunion with James, so it’s gonna be fun,” Cone told sportswriters.
The partnership between Cone and Yap produced five championships for the old Purefoods franchise, including the historic Grand Slam in 2014. Both have since moved to different squads with Yap being traded to Rain or Shine but the American mentor is looking forward to spending some time with his old player.
But while Cone is excited for the reunion with Yap, the veteran bench tactician regrets missing out on the opportunity to coach players like June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo, who were originally slated to play for Cone’s squad but could be playing for the Philippine national men’s basketball squad instead.
“Original plan is to coach June Mar and Terrence for the first time. Sayang they’re gonna be moved to the other team. That’s what I’m excited about. It’s always interesting to coach just for a moment guys you’ve always seen from the distance. Because you’re gonna know a little bit of their personality and that’s kinda fun. That’s really the best part of the All-Star Game. The game itself is not a lot of fun from a coaching stand point, but being with the other guys, guys you normally compete against is a lot of fun,” added Cone.
Cone said his Visayas team is facing a tough match up against the Gilas Pilipinas team, which by that time will have already finalized the lineup for the coming SEABA Men’s Championship.
“I understand I’m gonnna be coaching against the final roster, which is a little unfair to me. I think they’re gonna announce it before we play in Cebu. That’s gonna be a tough one for us to win with just one practice. But I’ve got some really good guys.”
The All-Star Games will be played on April 26 in Cagayan De Oro, on April 28 in Lucena and on April 30 in Cebu.