SAN Mig has been the PBA's hottest team over the past three conferences, winning back-to-back championships and once again looking good with James Mays as import in the Commissioner's Cup.
Does he see the making of another dynasty?
San Mig coach Tim Cone said it's much too early to tell, and way too early to compare San Mig to the fabled Alaska team and its dynastic reign in the nineties which was crowned with a grand slam in 1996.
As far as the most successful coach in league history is concerned, this San Mig team, which is coming off a second successive championship in the Philippine Cup, has got "a long way to go" before reaching the level of that "special" Alaska side.
“We can’t compare San Mig to that team now," said Cone. "It was a special group, that Alaska team with Johnny (Abarrientos) and Jojo (Lastimosa) and Bong (Hawkins) and Poch Juinio and Kenneth (Duremdes) and Jeffrey (Cariaso) at various times.
“This team (San Mig) has a long way to go before they get to that special level (of Alaska). Right now, we’re playing at a very high level … we’re very good, but there’s another level still to go. And that is from very good to great to special, and that’s where that Alaska team was,” he added.
Is San Mig on track to duplicating the success of Alaska which collected eight titles from 1995-2000, Cone was asked.
“Well, you never know. As long as we keep working, we will continue to raise it to a different level,” he said.
Abarrientos, the court general of those great Alaska teams and now Cone's assistant at San Mig, said he was no longer surprised with his former coach's reaction.
“Hindi na rin ako nagulat,” said Abarrientos, a former MVP and member of the league's 25 Greatest Players. “Siguro mahihirap na maulit 'yung ganung team, special na talaga 'yun.”
Asked if he likes his chances of winning a second career grand slam with his second PBA team soon, the 16-time champion coach said he doesn't want to look that far ahead.
“That’s one thing we don’t want to focus on or think about,” said Cone, the only coach capable of winning a three-peat this season.
“We just want to stay at what’s in front of us. If you try to think about that kind of stuff, it ruins the now. We just think about the next game,” he added while setting his sights on an interesting showdown against arch-rival Rain or Shine on Saturday.