BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone has won 20 championships in his PBA coaching career, but Game Five of the Commissioner’s Cup finals is right up there as one of the toughest championship matches he has ever won.
The Gin Kings grinded out an 87-83 win in Game Five of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, moving them one win away from dethroning a San Miguel side that has ruled four of the league's last five conferences.
“One of the toughest games I’ve played in the finals,” Cone said.
Aside from the implications of the match had the team lost, Cone said he had to endure symptoms of food poisoning during the match.
“I’m under the weather,” Cone said. “I’m not feeling well. It’s food poisoning. I had food poisoning all day long. A little shaky and weak. That’s why it was a tough game.”
Cone said he had to rely on his coaching staff led by first assistant Richard Del Rosario during the game, with Del Rosario mostly calling the shots during timeouts.
Cone paid tribute to his staff for also stepping up to the plate.
“I leaned a lot on my staff today especially Richard and he did a great job because a lot of it during the timeouts, he was the one doing a lot of coaching,” said Cone.
Scottie Thompson had 20 points and 11 rebounds including six in a 9-0 closeout to the match, while Justin Brownlee had 18 points and nine boards as the Kings moved on the cusp of winning the title.
But more than the offense, Cone is prouder to see Ginebra win a grindout battle.
“It was a tough defensive battle. Most of you know, that’s what I like, a tough defensive battle. I said that when it was 40-40, it’s that kind of game we want to play. We were able to pull it out,” Cone said.