B-MEG coach Tim Cone has apologized for remarks he made shortly after the Llamados' Game Three loss in the PBA Governors Cup Finals, which he felt may be construed as being insensitive to fans.
Cone turned to Twitter to issue an apology a day after benching starters James Yap and Peter June Simon in the crucial stretch of the match, saying he must worry about winning a championship and not about the fans.
“I deeply apologize for the misunderstanding,” said Cone in his Twitter account.
The B-Meg mentor stressed that his statement about not thinking the welfare of basketball fans should not be taken out of context. Cone said during the post-game interview that he "can’t worry about what people think. My job is to win a championship for the organization."
“Again, I apologize. In my 24 years of coaching, I have always said, without the fans, there would be no PBA. We are nothing without you,” he said.
Cone, the second winningest coach in PBA history, said he pulled Simon and Yap out of the game in the hope of keeping them fresh for Sunday’s Game Four after he felt the Llamados could no longer turn the tide in their favor against Rain or Shine.
The Llamados fell behind by as many as 21 points against the Elasto Painters in the third quarter and never got closer than seven in the final minute of an 84-93 loss in Game Three Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum. They trail the best-of-seven title series, 1-2.
“Hopefully, by resting them we take one step back, but then take two steps forward,” said Cone, lifting the classic line uttered by Hall of Fame coach Tommy Manotoc 32 years ago when he also did the same move with U-Tex Wranglers in a lost game with Toyota during the 1980 Open Conference Finals.
“I’m just a big picture thinker. I just felt that this is about winning the series, and not just about winning one game,” he said.
“If I can steal some rest for PJ and James, and get them ready for the next game, then I think that’s the better strategy at this point.”
PBA Media Bureau Chief Willie Marcial said he has yet to talk with Commissioner Chito Salud about the matter, but will certainly discuss the merits of Cone’s contention before Game Four of the series.
Yap, who’s also suffering from back spasms, played for just 22 minutes and finished with seven points on 4-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-12 from two-point range. Simon on the other hand, saw action for 24 minutes and had four points on 2-of-10 shooting.