Cone has nothing but respect for Black’s coaching acumen

Naveen Ganglani
Cone has nothing but respect for Black’s coaching acumen
Cone believes Black is the type of coach who can't be out-smarted

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has the Meralco Bolts standing in their way of a PBA championship for the first time in 8 years. 

Beating them means Ginebra’s coach, Tim Cone, will have to win the battle of basketball minds with another great tactician in Meralco coach Norman Black.

During the press conference for the Governors’ Cup finals on Thursday, October 6, at the PBA Cafe, Cone was complimentary of the abilities of the man who’s going to be on the opposite bench when Game 1 begins on Friday.

“He’s a great X and O guy. He really knows how to adjust,” Cone said about Black.

“Frankly, I’m not that strong in those areas. That’s where his real strength is. He’s going to make the proper adjustments as the series goes along whether he wins or loses. Like I said, he’s a really great adjustment coach.”

Cone is the PBA’s all-time winningest coach with 18 championships, while Black is third with 8 PBA titles. As the head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Black has also won 5 UAAP rings.

Both coaches are no strangers to each other. During the 2013-2014 PBA season – when Black coached Talk ’N Text and Cone coached San Mig Coffee – Cone’s teams eliminated Black’s in each of the 3 conferences.

Black repaid the favor during the 2015 Philippine Cup when his Bolts ended the Star Hotshots’ title reign.

“He’s not a coach you can out-smart. You just gotta hope your players can battle his players,” said Cone, who compared Black to 7-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks.

“When I used to coach against Bobby Parks, any defense you threw at him, he knew it was coming because he’s seen everything. It was really tough to defend Bobby, because anything you did, he knew. And it’s the same thing with Coach Norman,” said Cone.

Leading Ginebra to a title would be special for Cone because it would mean ending the championship drought of the most popular franchise in the PBA today. 

Black’s Bolts, on the other hand, have already made history by making the finals for the first time in franchise history, but assured that Meralco is also hungry for a ring.

“I’m not going to be able to throw anything new at him (Black) that he hasn’t seen before,” said Cone.

“He’s a very calm coach, he doesn’t get rattled, and of the coaches probably out there, he’ll get least rattled by our crowd by anybody.” –

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