TIM Cone chasing history.
Already the owner of a record 16 PBA titles in 26 years of coaching—almost 24 years with Alaska—Cone’s appetite for more seems insatiable.
Already the owner of three crowns won successively from the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup with his new team that is barely two years old, Cone stands on the brink of yet another milestone.
San Mig Coffee is in the thick of a title showdown with Rain or Shine for the 2014 PBA Governors’ Cup, a crown that Cone is not only defending but is also trying to win anew to complete a rare Grand Slam.
No team has won a Grand Slam barely two years into the PBA and San Mig Coffee, the gallant winner of the last three conferences, now finds itself in an enviable position of pocketing a fourth straight crown and, in the process, capturing only the fifth Grand Slam feat in 39 years of the league.
Since the PBA’s birth in 1975, only Crispa (1976 and 1983), San Miguel Beer (1989) and Alaska (1996) had stashed away the Grand Slam, or a sweep of the league’s three conferences staked every year.
I wrote this a day ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 in the best-of-five playoffs for the Governors’ Cup between San Mig Coffee and coach Yeng Guiao’s Rain or Shine.
Although SMC has the odds-makers’ nod, RoS can never be looked down for two major reasons: 1) RoS gave SMC a tough series in the year’s first conference, bowing in six games in the Philippine Cup. 2) In their first war for the Governors’ Cup in 2012, Guiao totally out-coached Cone to give Rain or Shine its first PBA crown ever.
Both teams have the almost perfect personnel to win a war but seemingly, in the end, it is the personal motivation that could finally spell victory, if ever, for Cone.
This series could easily become very personal for Cone since winning it would mean a first for any PBA coach to capture two Grand Slams, adding Cone’s first Grand Slam with Alaska in 1996.
That’s why I can’t blame Cone one bit if he wracks up his brain in all his waking hours devising ways to outwit the dangerous Guiao in this most crucial stage of his coaching career.
If, by now, Cone’s obsessed with winning it, I leave it at that. Guiao’s ghost haunts, however.