TIM Cone is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to bring out the best in Purefoods.
The two-time grand slam coach recently hosted a get-together at his home in Alabang, not only to relax but also to reinforce the team bond as the Hotshots begin a big push for the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.
The gathering at Alabang Hills is an annual tradition that this time also served as an opportunity for the league’s all-time most successful coach to restate the team’s battle cry and gather support from the players’ wives.
“Hindi naman siya formal kundi get-together lang. Si coach Tim nagsalita lang ng konti tungkol sa team tapos, hiningi niya lang yung suporta ng mga asawa para sa aming mga players,” Purefoods Star guard Mark Barroca told Spin.ph just before the team’s Monday practice at the Ronac gym.
Purefoods Star has been the most dominant team in the league for the last four conferences, finishing last season with the franchise’s first-ever grand slam title, a feat that last happened in 1996, when Cone was still handling Alaska.
With a chance to extend their reign, Cone and the Hotshots hope to recover from another slow start this season.
“Maganda, positive ito (get-together) para sa team, lalo na galing ang team sa panalo sa last game namin (against Barako Bull). So kumbaga, iniisip namin na kaya namin mag-bounce back,” said team superstar James Yap.
Yap said the team is not thinking about their poor record at this point, saying they are far more concerned with playing better going into the last half of the eliminations.
“In-explain na naman ni coach yung format even before mag-start yung season,” said the 32-year-old Yap. “At least, mag-top 2 sana kami, pero kung hindi, makuha sana namin ang twice-to-beat sa quarterfinals.”
Before the Hotshots’ 92-76 whipping of the NLEX Road Warriors last week, they opened the season at 1-3, losing by an average margin of 10.3 points.
Purefoods Star’ first victory this season was a come-from-behind 81-75 decision against GlobalPort, behind Barroca’s valiant fourth-quarter effort.
Purefoods Star shoots for its first back-to-back wins in the season-opening conference when it faces Blackwater on Tuesday, followed by Meralco on Sunday.
The Hotshots, then collide with the KIA Motors Sorento on November 26, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on November 30, and Talk ‘N Text on December 3 before closing their elimination-round campaign against Barako Bull Energy on December 6 in Dipolog City.