Tim Cone on Baby Dalupan: 'Every time I’m with him, I realize how special he is'
“He is such a great man, and a gracious man. I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with him. Every time I’m with him, I realize how special he is," says Tim Cone of Baby Dalupan. Jerome Ascano

EVEN though he already surpassed the great Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan for the most number of championships won in the PBA, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said ‘The Maestro’ remains in a class of his own.

The multi-titled Cone said Dalupan will always be the greatest coach Philippine basketball ever had even though he has already won more titles in Asia’s pioneering pro league than the acknowledged 'Maestro.'

“All I did was just pass him in the PBA,” said Cone, who was on hand when Dalupan celebrated his 92nd birthday on Monday night. “The only reason (I won more PBA titles) is that I’ve been around for so long. You got to remember, this guy won 53 championships in his career. I mean, no one in the world has done that.”

[See Basketball greats gather to pay tribute to 'The Maestro' on his 92nd birthday]

Cone sat beside Dalupan on this special night when a book about the “Maestro’s’ coaching career was launched.

Two seasons ago, Cone surpassed Dalupan as the most accomplished coach in the history of the PBA after San Mig Coffee captured the 2013-2014 Philippine Cup for his 16th championship.

He’d later win two more to bring his total championships to 18 as the Purefoods franchise completed a rare grand slam – a second for Cone after winning his first with Alaska in 1996.

Still, Cone said he is in no way better than Dalupan.

“He is in a class by himself. I’m happy that my name is mentioned with him, but we are not on equal footing. He is far above me,” said Cone.

“He has the legacy that is unsurpassed. I might have a couple of championships in the PBA, but that’s really because I’ve been around for so long. His (Dalupan) career was cut a little short because, remember, he was in the Micaa for 10 to 12 years before the PBA. If he had been in the PBA for a log time, he’ll be blowing everyone away,” he pointed out.

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[See They all came to pay homage to great coach. See GALLERY]

Cone said the book 'Virgilio 'Baby' Dalupan: The Maestro of Philippine Basketball' is a welcome development since younger fans will get to know better the man responsible for the fabled championship run of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers.

“He is such a great man, and a gracious man. I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with him. Every time I’m with him, I realize how special he is.

“We need to remember him and the younger fans need to know about him and that’s why I love this book coming out. It’s really a neat thing for young fans. I hope the young fans will have a chance to pick it up, read through it, and find out about him.

“Because he is the father of us all. He started this whole thing,” said Cone.

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