Ginebra welcomes Cone

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Barangay Ginebra officially declared grand slam coach Earl Timothy Cone as its head coach when the 41st Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season starts. Meanwhile, Purefoods’ Star announced that Cone’s former assistant coach Jason Webb is the team’s new head coach.

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“It is very hard to leave Star and start a new relationship with the Ginebra organization. I’m looking forward to the challenge now,” said Cone, 57, during a press conference on Thursday at the San Miguel Corporation office in Mandaluyong City. “It’s going to take a little bit of time and it always does, but we’ll try to be quick but won’t be in a hurry. You can’t do that instantly. I handled Alaska and Purefoods but they went into a long process before they won a championship.”

Cone started as a coach in the PBA in 1989 and immediately led his first team Alaska to a grand slam title. He captured his second grand slam in 2014 by leading Purefoods’ Star to three consecutive conference titles.

Cone said that he would do his best to improve the game of seven-footer Greg Slaughter and 6’9 Japeth Aguilar this coming season.

“I’m really hoping they will embrace the new system. It’s going to be more on defense,” he added. “Just like what I did to James [Yap] when I took over the head coaching post four years ago of Purefoods, it’s going to be on Mark Caguioa now. The key is building a proper foundation and building from there.”

“We have to look for the line up and see what’s the weaknesses and strong part of the team. It’s not going to be like we get a chunk of players from Purefoods and transfers it to Ginebra. I don’t want to damage Purefoods and make them bad. I don’t like to put a lot of pressure to coach Jason [Webb].”

Webb, 41, a former player and sports commentator in the PBA, said that it is not easy to measure up to Cone who already has 18 PBA titles since 1989.

“My dad told me after accepting the position just to be myself,” said Webb. “First of all, let’s be honest here, he is the greatest coach of the PBA, let’s admit it. Nobody can do that. I will just do my best to lead this team.”

Meanwhile, Cone has advised Filipino-American Bobby “Ray” Parks Jr. to accept any offer to play for any team in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Developmental League if he is serious enough to get a break in the NBA.

“We’ve talked a lot and I watched all his games. Ray-Ray can still make it to the NBA especially if he can play for any D-League team. He should accept it because that’s the closest thing he gets to play in the NBA,” Cone said.

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