Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone said he’s bent on winning the coveted Philippine Cup title as the 44th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) begins on Sunday.
“It’s the crown jewel, it’s the one that everyone goes for,” Cone told The Manila Times during the PBA’s media day on Thursday at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City. “We are talking about it for the last conferences. This (Philippine Cup) is what we want to get.”
Cone, who became Ginebra’s head coach in 2015, has guided the league’s most popular franchise to back-to-back Governors’ Cup crowns in 2016 and 2017, and the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2018.
All three were won with import Justin Brownlee.
“When you have an import it has the tendency to show up your weaknesses. It is very easy to win with an import especially if he is a good guy, a good player and gets along with his teammates,” explained Cone.
“But once you lose him, all those works come back. And so definitely, all teams have weaknesses if they have no import. It is up to those teams to explore those weaknesses. That makes all-Filipino conference more challenging.”
Cone believes that defending champion San Miguel Beer remains the most competitive team in the Philippine Cup because of the presence of Christian Standhardinger, four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, not to mention the addition of three-time scoring champion Terrence Romeo.
“They are the strongest team, they are the four-time all-Filipino champion. So until somebody beats them, they will continue to be the champion and they will not relinquish that so easy.”
Cone added that the key to beating San Miguel Beer is the optimal health of the players.
“You know it always comes down to our health. If we are healthy, then we are going to achieve, we are going to compete in a high level, we are going to compete with just anybody we play with, and we compete for championship,” added Cone.
“Then we are going to do really well. Right now, we are healthy. Generally, the core group is healthy.”
Among the members of Ginebra’s PH Cup lineup are the 7-footer Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Joe Devance, LA Tenorio, veteran Mark Caguioa and Sol Mercado.