OF all the coaches he went up against, be it in regular games or championship matches, one man easily stood out for the most accomplished coach in Philippine Basketball Association history.
Multi-titled Tim Cone considered Ron Jacobs a one-of-a kind coach who always brought out the best in him, especially during the time when the two battled each other on the bench in two separate championship series in 1998.
“Ron Jacobs was the most intense competitor I ever faced,” Cone said on his Twittter account @manilacone in complementing his former San Miguel Beer counterpart, who died on Christmas Eve after being bedridden for almost 14 years following a massive stroke he suffered in 2001.
“Plus, he had an absolutely brilliant mind, what a lethal combination to go against,” added Cone, the current Barangay Ginebra coach.
Jacobs took over the coaching job at San Miguel just when Cone was still fresh from steering Alaska to a rare grand slam in 1996. The two wouldn’t battle each other in a championship series until two years later, not just once but twice.
Cone defeated Jacobs in both the 1998 All-Filipino (now Philippine Cup) and Commissioner’s Cup Finals, with their first championship meeting going the full seven-game route.
Despite his victory, Cone remained in awe of the former NCAA Division 1 coach, who was the last man to steer a Philippine team to the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in 1986.
Cone, who owns the most numbers of PBA championships won with 18, said his fellow American was a great influence not only to him, but on the entire Filipino coaching community.
“Ron greatly impacted all of us coaches. We all took pages from his playbook and made it our own,” he tweeted hours before Ginebra takes on Star at the start of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup playoffs at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“He will be forever remembered.”