The winningest mentor in the PBA was modest enough to admit it.
After 25 championships in the PBA, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Tim Cone is the GOAT of Philippine basketball coaches.
Such claim was further solidified when Cone also steered the hastily-assembled Gilas Pilipinas to the Asian Games gold medal last month—the country’s first in 61 years.
Cone, though, doesn’t share the same belief that he's right up there on the pedestal.
Upon receiving his fourth Coach of the Year award during the PBA Press Corps Awards on Monday, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel drillmaster made sure to pay tribute anew to the late great Baby Dalupan.
For Cone, the man dubbed as The Maestro is the coaching GOAT.
“There’s only one GOAT in Philippine basketball, and that’s Baby Dalupan,” said Cone.
The 65-year-old Cone, the only coach in PBA history to win two grand slams, has long eclipsed Dalupan’s record. But he is already pleased with just being mentioned in the same breath as the late tactician, who won 15 PBA championships, nine with the Crispa Redmanizers.
Dalupan also won 12 titles in the UAAP with the UE Red Warriors and two in the NCAA with the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
The two shared the court as foes several times, with Dalupan’s last title coming at the expense of Cone’s Alaska Milkmen in the 1991 PBA All-Filipino Cup finals.
“He will always be known as the greatest. I’m truly honored to be mentioned with his name. I just think that's the coolest thing in the world,” he said.
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Humble and all, Cone doesn’t look like he’s done winning championships in the PBA or beyond.(PM)