Grand slam coach Tim Cone is eyeing more crowns for the rejuvenated Gin Kings after Barangay Ginebra won the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governor’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. The victory ended the team’s eight-year title drought.
Ginebra won 91-88 over Meralco in Game 6 of the best-of-seven finals to bag its first Governor’s Cup title and ninth overall since joining the league in 1979.
But Cone said that they are not in a hurry to win a third straight title or achieve a grand slam feat next season
“Just day to day at this point,” Cone told The Manila Times. “We hope [to achieve a grand slam next season], we just keep saying this is our first championship and we’re hoping to win more championships, we’re gunning for more.”
Cone said his 19th overall title as a coach becomes more special because he won it during the late Baby Dalupan’s birthday on October 19.
“I think that is cool we’ve won it on Baby Dalupan’s birthday. He was a mentor to me. I love his family and daughters,” said Cone. “That’s very special and memorable to me. I got a congratulatory message from the Dalupans after we won against Meralco.”
Cone said the key to Ginebra’s victory is unity. “We don’t believe in competing with each other. We challenge each other, but we don’t compete against each other. I’m going out there to support each guy and we have each other’s back all the time,” he said.
Despite winning the title without the injured seven-footer Greg Slaughter, Cone said they would not replace the former Ateneo center that will be still recuperating in the next six to nine months after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
“Greg (Slaughter) will be out for six to nine months due to ACL. It’s all about the rehab not the surgery, rehab is a horrific process but Greg is still young. We adjusted and competed without him and we need him in the future. We are not going to replace Greg because he is very valuable to us,” said Cone.
Cone said that Robert Jaworski’s visit during Game 6 was very memorable.
“I will remember the most when Robert Jaworski went to our locker room to inspire the players,” he added.
PBA legend Jaworski commended Justine Brownlee’s winning shot, “As mentioned, that victory is one for the book. It is made from heaven and can be compared to those remarkable winning shots by (Rudy) Distrito and Bal David,” Jaworski told The Manila Times.
“Basketball fans usually enjoy those buzzer-beating shot especially in the championship game. I honestly feel Ginebra will win more championship under the good coaching job of Tim Cone. San Miguel Corporation management is equally supportive,” Jaworski added.
“They have a formidable twin tower in Japeth and Greg. I hope to see more championships for Ginebra in the years to come.”
Former Ginebra player Leo Isaac, who is now a Blackwater coach, still relishes his memories with Jaworski and the old Ginebra.
“First of all, during our time we had no superstar, only Jawo,” said Isaac during a phone interview. “We also erased a 1-3 series deficit to win a title. “During that time my role was to guard Ronnie (Magsanoc). I was more of a defensive man but I also scored sometimes.”
Isaac added that Ginebra fans today really deserved the win because it was long overdue.
“The magnitude of today’s championship was high because the fans were waiting for too long, for eight years to get a championship,” he said.