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 Grand Slam for the team.
Cone expressed his 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 on Thursday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The winningest coach in the league Cone is just one of only three coaches in the PBA to win 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.
”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 for these guys,” said Cone, the last coach to win a Grand Slam. A Grand Slam is a coveted honor given to a team, which win all three conferences in one season.
San Mig Coffee won Game 1 via a 95-80 rout but lost Game 2 (76-86). 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 first Grand 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 battle through it, like 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 game plan for next conference as well.”
James Yap, the Finals Most Valuable Player after their victory over top seed and previously unbeaten Tropang Texters, shared the same goal with Cone, saying they have to continue playing with their bests and will never relax until the Grand Slam objective is achieved.