IT was a typical Tim Cone ploy that almost worked wonders but fell short in the end.
As frustration mounted on Barangay Ginebra on Sunday during its crucial PBA Governors Cup game against San Miguel, Cone let lead deputy Richard del Rosario handle the defending champions.
The approach seemed to have awakened the Kings, who battled back from a 22-point deficit in the fourth period and threatened at 105-100 inside the final 20 seconds only to come up short of what could have been another epic comeback.
Del Rosario admitted Cone did give him directions to take over the team at one point of the payoff period in the hopes of giving the team a ‘different voice.’
“Nakaka-frustrate lang kasi yung game namin for more than three quarters, so siguro kailangan lang makarinig ng different voice. Yun lang naman yun,” said del Rosario, noting the reigning champions even trailed by as many as 26 points early in the third period.
“Pero parehas rin naman (yung coaching), we still run coach Tim’s system. So sa akin, it’s no big deal naman.”
Even during his time in charge at Alaska and later Purefoods, Cone had been known for letting himself get ejected to fire up his team when everything else is not working.
He has since taken the gambit to a new level at Barangay Ginebra.
“He does that naman once in a while but very rarely,” said Del Rosario, who also had his fair share of calling the shots for the Kings in the past whenever Cone felt the team is not properly responding to him.
“But hindi lang naman totally ako, kasi he’s also putting people in, doing subs and telling them kung ano ang gagawin. So tulungan lang kami.”
The Kings did catch fire as LA Tenorio, Joe Devance and rookie Kevin Ferrer carried back the reigning champions and gave the grand slam-seeking franchise some scare.
“Yun lang ang maganda, nagkaroon ng fight back yung mga players, yung never-say-die spirit napakita pa rin nila, naging respectable pa rin (yung resulta),” said del Rosario.
“Yung gamble nagkaroon naman ng magandang result, although bitin pa rin,” he added. “And siyempre yung final score did not reflect on how they (Beermen) dominated us in this game.”
And no, the Kings didn’t get any tonque-lashing from their fiery coach after the game.
“Ang feeling kasi namin, all runs will come to an end,” said the long-time Cone deputy after San Miguel ended Ginebra’s seven-game winning streak in the season-ending meet. “Parang pagod din yung mga players dahil back-to-back games rin kami.
“We’ll just have to see what we did wrong at kung ano ang kulang namin dito. Hopefully, we can still make that run para sa Top 4, yun lang naman ang aim namin (at this point).”