SAN Mig Super Coffee coach Tim Cone admitted he had to weigh carefully his trip to Reno, Nevada to scout possible imports for the Mixers even though their playoff hopes in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup hangs in the balance.
“I was just there (Reno) scouting (for an import). And I felt we had a break (this week) and not miss a game, but I thought it’s important (to watch games in the NBA D-League),” Cone said about his five-day trip to Las Vegas for the NBA D-League Showcase.
The multi-titled coach arrived Saturday morning in time to steer the Mixers to a 67-60 win over Air21 Express at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Cone said with two of the three conferences each season being played with imports, he felt it was imperative for him to go and watch the heavy 17-game D-League schedule in order to get a better handle of the kind of reinforcement the franchise will be tapping for the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Sixty-seven percent of our conferences in a year is with imports so we all know how valuable an import is. You have a good import, you have a good shot (at winning a championship). You have a bad import, you have no shot,” explained the American mentor.
“So it’s something that I try to go to every year, because you see them (D-League players) all.”
Cone though admitted that owing to the high cost of buying out a D-League player’s contract to bring him to play in the PBA, the Mixers have to settle for someone else for the this year’s mid-season conference.
“Probably we won’t get a player for them (D-League) because the buyout is too high. The guy we’re trying to bring over now played there last year, so from going there last year and seeing now, we know we don’t have to buy out because he didn’t play there this year,” Cone added, while declining to name San Mig’s import candidate for the time being.
Should the negotiation be successful, the 56-year-old American coach said San Mig’s soon-to-be import in the Commissioner’s Cup will be arriving in a few days to finally have an early workout with the Mixers.
“It’s (deal with the import) not confirmed yet, but we’re close. But if ever he’ll be arriving here (in Manila) the next few days, we’ll,get him here early, working him out and get use to it (system). Management is ready to bring him in early,” said Cone, who steered the Mixers to the Commissioner’s Cup title two seasons ago with Best Import Denzel Bowles in tow.
The top eight finishers in the All-Filipino conference are allowed to tap imports standing 6-foot-9 while the last two placers are allowed to tap players standing 6-foot-11.