Cone likens Ginebra rookie Teodoro to Johnny Abarrientos
MANILA, Philippines – Tim Cone isn't afraid to give minutes to Teytey Teodoro, especially if the Barangay Ginebra rookie reminds him of someone who turned into one of the PBA's greatest player of all time.
The league's winningest coach says the former JRU Heavy Bomber has a certain calm in him when he plays the game, just like how Johnny Abarrientos carried himself during his heydays in the 1990s.
"I love Tey. I think he's greatly skilled. I think there's a presence about him that he plays with. He doesn't get rattled, nothing overcomes him," Cone said after Ginebra's season-opening win over TNT on Sunday, January 13.
"You see that right away. He plays with a kind of a Johnny Abarrientos-like type of personality where just nothing rattles him."
Of course, Cone knows too well about "The Flying A."
Abarrientos flourished under Cone when they were still together in Alaska, winning a Most Valuable Player award and leading the Aces to 9 PBA championships, including a rare Grand Slam in 1996.
"He's prepared for anything and you can throw anything right at him and he'll be ready," Cone added of Teodoro.
Teodoro, who was signed by Ginebra to a one-conference contract, repaid Cone's trust by scoring 4 points in 7 minutes.
Slotted in with 2:34 minutes left in the 1st quarter, the stocky guard faked out Jayson Castro before drilling a top-of-the-key jumper and then sank a contested layup to give the Gin Kings a 26-12 lead.
He played sparingly in the second half, but Cone said it is only because he did not want to disrupt the momentum of his other key guards.
"I wouldn't have been afraid to play him in the second half, but Scottie (Thompson) and LA (Tenorio) and Sol (Mercado) were playing so well," Cone said.
"I'm not afraid to play that kid. I really am. He can play in big moments. He just needs to learn a little bit more about our defense and our techniques. He's an accomplished offensive player. He just gets it."
Cone also bared he had hoped to get a crack at Teodoro during the 2018 Rookie Draft only to witness Columbian nab him as the 23rd overall pick.
But as it turned out, the Dyip left Teodoro unsigned, paving Ginebra to sign him for the 2019 Philippine Cup.
"I've been watching him since he was in JRU, and I was impressed. I saw him in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) a couple of times too where he just dominated," Cona shared.
"He's got a lot to do, he's got a lot to prove, still. But we like him, we like his presence on the floor."
The Gin Kings's mettle will be tested against reigning 4-time all-Filipino champions San Miguel on Sunday, January 20, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com