For San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, Saturday night was one proud man after watching his former assistant coach and friend Chot Reyes, as well as his player, Marc Pingris, play a big role in Gilas Pilipinas’ 86-79 Fiba-Asia semifinal win over Korea.
Cone said he felt the tension all throughout the game, especially when the Koreans regained the lead on a dunk by Lee Seung Jun with under three minutes to go.
But the multi-titled PBA coach said what amazed him more was the fact that Gilas Pilipinas fought back to frustrate the dreaded Koreans without naturalized player Marcus Douthit for the entire second half.
“i just cant believe they did it without Marcus. Marc (Pingris) really stepped up big,” said a jubilant Cone after the game. “I was shaking till the end. It’s almost an indescribable feeling at this moment.
"Really, I wasn’t be able to beat Korea. And if I couldn’t do it, I’m so happy Chot was (able to do it). He’s my man, he’s my friend. I’m so happy for him.”
Cone’s friendship with Reyes goes a long way back during the early 1990s when the latter served as one of his assistant coaches for Alaska for a few years.
And though Reyes eventually moved on to coach Purefoods later on, he remained close friends with Cone.
In fact, when Cone was tasked to handled the Philippine Centennial national team in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Reyes served as one of his trusted lieutenants because of his understanding of the triangle offense.
That team lost at the semifinal stage of the Bangkok Asiad to China.