Tim Cone denies he quit on Ginebra at height of NLEX third-quarter rampage
Figuring out when to step away and when to put your foot on the pedal is something you gain from experience over years of coaching, says Ginebra coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

JUST like his team Barangay Ginebra, there’s also not quit in coach Tim Cone.

The multi-title mentor denied having given up on his team when the chips were down at one point in its Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup game against NLEX on Sunday.

Obviously upset as the Road Warriors pulled away to a commanding 75-53 lead, the usually animated Cone was seen slumped on the bench looking aimlessly at nowhere as NLEX pounded Ginebra's defense.

However, Cone said at that point, he merely backed off to let his players solve the problem themselves - and did not necessarily mean abandoning them in the middle of a crisis.

“What am I gonna do, get angrier? I just have to step away and allow things to happen,” explained Cone in the aftermath of Ginebra’s monumental 91-90 victory over NLEX.

“At some point, you have to withdraw and say to your team, ‘Ok look, I did what I can, and so you guys have to go and try to figure it out.”

The Kings did.

Behind spitfire rookie Scottie Thompson and Dave Marcelo, along with the outside snippings of  Chris Ellis and Joe Devance, the Kings crawled their way back from the huge 22-point deficit and hand Cone his most dramatic win yet as Ginebra coach.

Thompson sealed the win by draining two pressure-packed free throws with 10 seconds left in the game.

“I let the players play and see if they can pick it up,” said Cone who turned a year older the morning after the victory.

Cone stressed he didn’t deserve to be in the podium talking to reporters during the post-game interview, where he reserved the credit to his second unit led by Thompson and Marcelo and to Ginebra’s legendary ‘sixth man,' praising the pro-Ginebra crowd for inspiring and pumping up the team to mount the comeback.

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“It’s the first time I’ve really been on the side of it. They should take great pride in helping us get back into that game. Truly, it’s the first time I’ve been on the side of it,” he said.

Then again, Cone made it clear he didn’t leave his team when the going got rough.

“Oftentimes, less is more when it comes to coaching. You have to figure it out when to step away, and (when to) put your foot on the pedal is something you gain from experience over the years.

“Quit on the game, no; but I withdraw on the game, you bet.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos