Cone eyes rare grand slam as Gov.’s Cup starts

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Friday, May 16, 2014


AFTER winning their third straight title and 12th overall for San Mig Coffee Mixers,  the 17-time champion Coach Tim Cone is eyeing a rare Grandslam for the team.

Cone expressed this desire following a 3-1 rout over Talk ‘N Text in the best-of-five titular series of the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup last Thursday at the PhilsportsArena in Pasig City.

Cone, the winningest coach in the league, is just one of only three coaches in the PBA to have won a grand slam. And he did it with the Alaska Aces in 1996. The two others were legendary Baby Dalupan of Crispa Redmanizers in 1976 and the second was Norman Black with the San Miguel Beermen in 1989.

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“This could be a special team and special group of guys. It really takes a lot of you trying to win three straight in a row and also the way we did it in short breaks, it’s really telling of these guys,” said Cone, the last coach to win a grand slam. A grand slam is a coveted honor given to a team which in all three conferences in oneseason.

San Mig Coffee won Game 1 via a rout but lost Game 2.

The Mixers bounced back by winning Game 3 (77-75) and went on to win Game 4 (100-91) to move just one conference away from its firstgrand slam trophy since joining the league in 1988.

“There are a lot of talented teams out there, some really good imports. We’re gonna see how we can manage our minutes, our rest and see how we can continue to battle through it, like in this conference. We weren’t perfect from start to finish. For us, it was like a marathon where we made a burst in the end. I think that’s gonna be the gameplan for next conference as well.”

The returning Governor’s Cup reigning Best Import awardee Marqus Blakely likewise promised to help the Coffee Mixers  win a coveted PBA grand slam.  San Mig executive Rene Pardo said that Blakely told Yap that they will win the forthoming 39th Governor’s cup set to starttomorrow. Blakely and the Coffee Mixers start their title retention bid when they face Barako Bull on May 21.

The PBA will not take the usual break but instead will immediately begin the season ending conference tomorrow to give way for the Gilasnational team ample time to prepare for the 2014 FIBA World Cup inSpain this coming September.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2014.

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