SAN Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone personally took the blame for the aborted preseason game between the Mixers and his former team Alaska Aces on Tuesday at the Reyes gym in Mandaluyong.
Cone admitted on his Twitter account @Manilacone that more than anything else, he was concerned about the welfare of his players when he and the Mixers staff decided to call a halt to the match in the third period.
The Aces were leading, 63-50, when the game was stopped after San Mig Coffee’s Jerwin Gaco was ejected from the match for an elbow on his defender.
Cone vehemently questioned the ejection, stressing the Gaco elbow was not intentional. A few minutes later, the San Mig Coffee bench asked a stoppage and conceded the game to Alaska.
“No big deal,” Cone tweeted. “We asked to halt the practice game. We weren’t ready to play. My fault in scheduling it. My apology to Alaska and coach Luigi.”
Cone also dismissed claims that the call on Gaco triggered the 'walkout.'
“It was more about the fear of injury to our key guys than the call,” he said. “We’re not in shape yet, and guys were cramping. Again, my fault.”
Told by a Twitter follower that stopping in mid-game was being "unprofessional," Cone responded: "Point well taken, but these are "practice" games & when the practice is not beneficial, then you stop it. Not worth injury."
Alaska has been unbeaten in the preseason so far, earlier beating San Mig Coffee sister-team Petron, 90-84.
It was the first tune-up game for the Mixers, who played without Josh Urbiztondo, Raffy Reavis, Yancy de Ocampo, and injured players JC Intal and Joe Devance.
Cone later praised the Aces, tweeting: "Alaska was sharp and formidable and that was without Abueva. JV, Dondon and Cyrus were killing it. Again, sorry that we couldn't finish."
This marks the second straight preseason game that was called off following the exhibition match between Barangay Ginebra and the Qatar national team on Monday which was abandoned after Kerby Raymundo and Muhammad Yousef nearly came to blows.
The visitors were slightly ahead, 55-52, when the game was stopped at the 4:47 mark of the third period.