Pages: Tim Cone and Yeng Guiao

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


P2,000,000. That’s the hefty fine imposed by the PBA against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for walking out last Wednesday night.

It was bizarre. Shocking.

Foul.

While watching Game 6 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals between the Painters and the San Mig Coffee Mixers, the team of Yeng Guiao started leaving...

It wasn’t half-time; it was midway through the game.

As captain of his ship, Guiao led the exit. He waved his hand signaling for his boys to follow. One by one, player after assistant coach after player, they followed the leader into the dungeon.

Time check: 11:39 left in the 2nd quarter.

San Mig was leading, 30-17.

The walkout strategy (he was protesting the officiating) was unsightly and ill-mannered. Yet, surprisingly, it worked for Rain or Shine. After 10 minutes behind closed doors inside their dugout – where they had the luxury to discuss new tactics – they emerged invigorated.

Meted only an inconsequential penalty shot when they returned after holding hostage the 20,337 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum (plus the hundreds of thousands of us watching on TV5), Yeng Guiao’s scheme worked. Tim Cone’s momentum was paralyzed. Like a rain delay in a tennis match, the shift favored the losing team.

Yeng’s move was cunning. By the end of two quarters, the lead was cut to 49-43. When the 3rd quarter finished, ROS led, 67-66. Would you believe that?

Imagine if Rain or Shine went on to win Game 6? That “stunt,” as Quinito Henson called the move in his recent The Phil. Star column, would have been celebrated (by ROS fans) and ridiculed (by the rest of us). Thankfully, the ploy did not work in the end as San Mig Coffee lifted the trophy, 93-87.

The P2 million fine? That’s fine, according to ROS owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que. “We’ll pay,” they said.

PBA Commissioner Chito Salud explained the penalty, the league’s biggest ever inflicted on a team over a game-related incident, saying, “Public interest dictates that walkouts can never be condoned – whether in a finals game or not. A walkout represents a total disregard of the principles and values we want our players and teams to zealously uphold: sportsmanship and the tenet that public and fan interest is paramount.”

I agree.

As to Coach Yeng, it wasn’t the first time his temper has boiled over. It appears he was fined over P300,000 for the multiple technical fines that he collected – including once flashing the “dirty finger.”

If Guiao is Mr. Hothead, the orchestra conductor at the opposite end of the court appears to be Mr. Cool.

That’s Tim Cone and he’s now Mr. Sweet Sixteen. With last Wednesday’s victory, he collected his 16th PBA title.

Remember that surprising news back in 2011 when Fred Uytengsu announced that Tim Cone was leaving the Alaska franchise after 22 seasons?

San Miguel Corp. had the foresight. They wanted the best. They got it. And now, winning two titles thus far for the Ramon Ang-operated SMB conglomerate, he’s on a positive roll.

Cone, as you and I know, is American. But what you probably didn’t know is this: he’s resided in Manila since he was nine. He finished high school at the International School – Manila.

This all-Filipino PBA season has been tough for the 56-year-old coach. During the eliminations, San Mig played poorly, amassing a lowly one win versus five losses scorecard in their first six games.
But, like he often does, Cone sparked renewed energy among his men in the playoffs, beating Talk ‘N Text, Brgy. Ginebra (the top seeds) and ROS (seeded 2nd) in the finale.

What’s admirable about Cone is the victory hasn’t bloated his ego. When he was pronounced as “the winningest coach in PBA history,” he deflected the accolades and paid tribute to the great Baby Dalupan, whose 15 titles he surpassed.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” Cone said. “No one would ever equal Baby. He’s one of the greatest in the world. Imagine 41 championships won in the UAAP, NCAA, MICAA and the PBA.”
That’s a champion with humility.

*****

(www.pages.ph)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2014.

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