BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone apologized to world champion Jerwin Ancajas and assured the door of the Kings’ dugout is always open to the country’s latest boxing pride.
Cone clarified he never said no to any request from the camp of Ancajas, a Ginebra fan, to enter the Kings' dugout at the Philippine Arena after a tough loss to Meralco, 84-82, on Sunday night.
“Just to let you know, I never said, no, he couldn’t come in. I said I’m not too sure how the players will receive him after a tough loss, but it was okay by me,” the most accomplished coach in PBA history said in a text message to SPIN.ph on Wednesday.
“My apologies to Jerwin, in any case,” added Cone. “He’s a remarkable man.”
Ancajas, who was given access to the Meralco Bolts locker room, played down the incident afterwards and said he completely understood the situation.
His trainer and manager Joven Jimenez also assured Cone and Ginebra management that it was no big deal.
“Maraming salamat kay coach Tim. Wala naman po 'yun. Masayang-masaya po actually si Jerwin nung gabing yun,” said Jimenez, who confessed being a longtime Cone fan since his days with Alaska.
Ancajas got to meet some of the Ginebra players outside the dugout and had a chat with the likes of LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, Joe Devance, Japeth Aguilar, Kevin Ferrer, Jett Manuel, Aljon Mariano, Paolo Taha, and fellow Davaoeno Scottie Thompson.
He was also waiting for an opportunity to personally meet Cone, but the Ginebra coach hurriedly left the venue as soon as he went out of the dugout.
But Cone was quick to clarify he wasn’t aware Ancajas and his team were seeking him out.
“I didn’t know he was outside. I wasn’t avoiding him,” said Cone, 60.
“I was avoiding the press because I didn’t want to say something I’d regret later,” explained the Barangay Ginebra coach of his customary move of politely declining interviews after losing a game.