TIM Cone can’t help but be nostalgic as the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) returns to its former home, the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Thursday for Game Four of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
Cone aptly calls the Mixers’ 8 p.m. match against back-to-the-wall Talk N Text as `throwback Thursday’, obviously referring to the league’s decision to hold the game at its old haunt where the PBA stayed from 1985 to 1992.
“Philsports, Throwback Thursday, right? When was the last time we played at Philsports? Just this last November? Seemed like it’s been years,” said Cone, now 56, and gunning for his 17th championship in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“But I’ve had some good memories there,” he added about the playing venue formerly known as ULTRA.
Obviously, his first ever coaching championship was one of them as Cone steered Alaska to its first franchise title during the 1991 Third Conference when the Milkmen beat Ginebra in the Finals, 3-1.
It was also at ULTRA where Cone began his legendary career after he became Alaska coach in 1989.
But Cone believed Talk `N Text counterpart Norman Black also had a lot of good memories of the venue, both as a player and coach.
“I think Norman probably won his grand slam there at Philsports Arena. It would be interesting to go back there and play,” Cone said, recalling how Black steered the San Miguel franchise to the historic 1989 feat.
And as for his hopes come game time?
“I hope the aircon works,” stressed Cone, before flashing his usual smile.
A victory by the Mixers on Thursday would give the franchise its third straight league championship and keep them on track for a possible Grand Slam bid after earlier winning the Philippine Cup crown.