‘No love lost’ for Cone on Christmas as Ginebra battles rival Star
MANILA, Philippines – It’ll be Christmas Day, a day of giving and love, when Barangay Ginebra takes on the Star Hotshots in the quarterfinals of the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup.
But that doesn't mean head coach Tim Cone will go easy on his ex-team.
“I’m not looking forward to it at all. But they’re a team in the way and we’re in their way, and we’re both gonna want to go out there and win,” Cone said after his new team Ginebra overcame Talk ’N Text Sunday, December 20, to set up the “Manila Clasico” Christmas edition quarterfinals match with Star.
“I love the Purefoods (Star) guys dearly but at this point they’re in our way so we’ve got to find a way to try and beat them. They’re gonna try to do the same thing for us. At this point right now there’s no love lost between us.”
Ginebra and Star will headline a Christmas Day double-header on Friday, December 25, right after Globalport and Barako Bull’s clash.
“We have the Christmas Day game which is always a difficult, difficult game to play. So many distractions, so many things going on. But it’s difficult for both teams,” Cone said.
Cone manned the sidelines for the Purefoods franchise for 4 seasons, leading the then San Mig Coffee Mixers to a Grand Slam in the 2014 season before he was transferred to sister team Ginebra last July.
The Gin Kings will hold a twice-to-beat edge over their rivals, which Cone definitely sees as a welcome convenience, considering the Hotshots routed them 86-78 in the elimination round.
“They handled us so easily the first time we played them. Hopefully we’re a better team and we understand a little bit more what we want to do.”
Knowing full well the capabilities of a team led by veterans Marc Pingris, James Yap, and Mark Barroca, the winningest coach in PBA history is bracing for a tough, grind-it-out match-up.
“Those Purefoods players obviously know how to play the playoffs. They know how to get themselves ready for the playoffs,” he said. “Of all the teams out there, I think they’re the toughest team because they are veterans and they know how to play.”
Not only that, Cone has also learned his lesson in the past during his first conference with the Purefoods franchise (then B-Meg) when they also had a twice-to-beat advantage as the first seed but were booted out by Powerade.
“Hopefully I can be a little smarter and that can be a warning to our players not to take things for granted.”
Cone and Ginebra are trying to end a 7-year title drought, having recovered from a 1-3 start and going on a 6-1 run to end the eliminations as the 4th seed. – Rappler.com