Grand Slam coach Tim Cone considered it a privilege to lead the Gin Kings to a 101-96 victory over the Meralco Bolts in front of a record 50,086 crowd at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Friday.
“When I go to the US for a family reunion and given a chance to watch the Warriors-Heat game in San Francisco, I can’t wait to tell coach Erik Spoelstra that I just coached in front of 50,000 people. That’s amazing and nobody does that maybe 30,000 but 50,000 is such a privilege,” said Cone of the thrilling Game 7 of the best-of-seven finals of Season 42 Governors’ Cup.
It was a memorable night when Barangay Ginebra San Miguel emerged as back-to-back Governors’ Cup champion and Cone copped his 20th overall title.
The Gin Kings now have a total of 10 overall championships on top of their two Governors’ Cup crowns.
“Back-to-back games 50 thousand plus, wow. He (Spoelstra) has been in the NBA finals but he’s never been in front of 50,000 people so I got one up on him. It blows up my mind, 50,000, and I’m proud to be part of it. We made Ginebra fans happy and that’s the best part of it,” Cone added.
Cone said that each of his accomplishments is unique, “I always say all my championships are like my children they have different personalities. You value each one but you love them equally.”
The 59-year-old coach also commended Finals Most Valuable Player LA Tenorio and Joe Devance for stepping up in the final minutes of the game.
“LA really deserves the MVP. When he’s on, we won four times. When he’s off, we lost three times. Joe is the unheralded hero tonight for playing smart against Allen Durham,” said Cone, who left the country on Saturday morning for a family reunion in the United States.
Tenorio, meanwhile, underwent surgery to correct his right elbow also on Saturday. Despite a bothersome right elbow, Tenorio averaged 11.2 points and 3.7 assists in six games.
Import Justin Brownlee, who led Ginebra to back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles, averaged 23.8 points, 13 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the championship series.
Ginebra registered eight wins against three losses in the elimination round of the season-ending conference to get the twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals.
The Gin Kings also derailed San Miguel Beer’s Grand Slam bid thumping it in the quarterfinals before subduing TNT in the best-of-five semifinals 3-1.
In the best-of-seven finals, Ginebra beat Meralco in Game 1 (102-87) and Game 2 (86-76). But Bolts tied the series by winning Game 3 (94-81) and Game 4 (85-83).
The Gin Kings won Game 5 (85-74) but the Bolts forced a deciding Game 7 with a 98-91 win in Game 6, in front of a 53,642 crowd last Wednesday.