TIM Cone may be on course to catching - if not surpassing - Baby Dalupan for the most titles in PBA history, but as far as he's concerned there's one thing he and anyone else can't take away from 'The Maestro.'
The tag of greatest coach of all time.
“We (B-Meg) were one win away from tying coach Baby Dalupan’s 15 titles. But throughout history, Baby Dalupan is our greatest coach,” Cone said during Monday night’s press launch of the former B-Meg Derby Ace team's renaming to San Mig Coffee at the 1Esplanade in Pasay City.
"Winning 15 titles in maybe a span of about 15 or 16 years makes him the greatest coach of all time. But it took me about 24 years to win those 14 championships," Cone added.
Cone’s first 13 PBA championships all came with Alaska, his only team from 1989 till his departure last year. These included the pro league’s fourth grand slam, a feat also achieved by the legendary Crispa squad in 1976 under Dalupan, which they replicated in 1983 under Tommy Manotoc, and then by San Miguel Beer in 1989 under Norman Black.
With an intact lineup that reached two Finals and won one championship in the Commissioner’s Cup last season as well as key additions like rookie Aldrech Ramos, Jewel Ponferada and the 6’8” Gian Chiu, Cone has high hopes the Mixers will be right in the championship mix again when the PBA unveils its 38th season this Sunday.
Still, Cone said they are not even thinking of winning a grand slam at this point even though he has more talent this coming season compared to last year.
But one thing he has set his sights on is an All-Filipino title.
“I don’t think winning the grand slam is something we’re thinking about right now. But we’re really looking at winning the All-Filipino because is truly, truly, truly the crown jewel. It’s the conference where you don’t have imports to rely on, but you play with your local players. And when you win the All-Filipino, you’re considered the best team in the country,” said Cone.
The San Mig Coffee franchise has won a total of five All-Filipino (or Philippine Cup) championships since the team joined the league in 1988.