MERALCO assistant coach Luigi Trillo insisted his familiarity with Tim Cone and his system is hardly an advantage for the Bolts ahead of their PBA Governors Cup Finals showdown against Barangay Ginebra.
Cone mentioned his longtime Alaska deputy as among the Bolts who have championship experience.
“He’s a thorn in my side because he knows me pretty well,” Cone said after their blowout win over San Miguel Beer in the decider of their semifinal series. “He knows what I like to do and I had a lot of trouble beating him when he took over for Alaska.”
Trillo replaced Cone when the latter transferred to the Purefoods franchise in 2011, steering Alaska to its first title in the post-Cone era, in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, on the way to being named the season’s Coach of the Year.
But the 41-year-old mentor, who, on paper, is third in command at Meralco behind Norman Black and Ronnie Magsanoc, is well aware Cone will make adjustments.
“Coach Tim’s smart enough,” Trillo said in a chat with SPIN.ph a few hours after practice on Wednesday. “Just because I’ve worked with him for thirteen years doesn’t mean itatakbo niya ulit yung mga alam niya na alam ko. It doesn’t work like that.”
“Coach Tim knows me as well,” he added. “We run some things that he knows. We run a bit of triangle (offense) also.”
Cone, though, has veered away from the triangle this season as the league’s most successful coach has adapted to his personnel at Ginebra that thrive in a fast-paced offense.
“He’s done a great job with the situation he’s been put in,” Trillo said. “Also seeing coach Norman, the way he has evolved like coach Tim, they’re very open to trying new stuff and I think you’re harder to scout or defend when you’re doing new things.”
The absence of injured Greg Slaughter has also prompted the Gin Kings’ switch to a hybrid offense.
“It’s very different when Greg’s there. If he’s there, then the ball goes inside to out,” Trillo said. “But he’s worked a lot of motion now. The one thing I notice is they love to move the ball. It’s touch passes all around and they’ve got weapons.”
“I was surprised in a way because he’s always held on to the triangle for so long, but again, he’s looking to evolve and whatever works now, he’s doing,” he added.
"I think there will be times in a game where he’ll come back to that, especially if he has a post threat, but with the way the game is being called now, I think he likes more movement, more passing, getting to the basket. And I think that has worked out for him.”