TIM Cone has been to countless wars since starting his PBA head-coaching career with Alaska in the summer of 1989.
But the San Mig coach admitted that his numerous hard-court wars were nothing compared to the battles faced by wounded or fallen soldiers who risked life and limb for the country.
The PBA’s most successful coach had nothing but praise and admiration on Tuesday as he and his players sat in the front row of an auditorium filled with Filipino soldiers wounded in battle in the ongoing conflict in Mindanao.
They Said It!
“I’ve heard these stories (of soldiers who got critically wounded or died in the battle field) before and it hits you the same way every time. It doesn’t change." San Mig coachh Time Cone
“I’ve heard these stories (of soldiers who got critically wounded or died in the battle field) before and it hits you the same way every time. It doesn’t change,” the American coach, a longtime Manil resident, said.
Cone said he has been actively supporting the Hero Foundation for the last two years, helping people including his San Mig players appreciate the lasting value Filipino soldiers contribute to the country’s freedom.
“Me and my wife, (we’ve supported Hero Foundation) a little over a year, maybe two (years)," said Cone during the team's visit to the AFP Medical Center as part of the team’s program for the Hero Foundation.
“I have a fondness for the military, (even if I've) never been involved (in the military) and my family has neither. But it’s always a sense of under-appreciation for the military. And when I found out about the Hero Foundation, it’s just one of those things that kind of hits you. It felt right just to support the organization.”
The Hero Foundation, founded during the early eighties, has been actively supporting family members of wounded or incapacitated soldiers by providing scholarships to their children.
More than celebrities like PBA players, coaches and even movie stars, the 56-year-old Cone said soldiers deserve the admiration and gratitude of the nation and its people.
“We go through our everyday lives. We have our own trials and tribulations, like family spats, or friends spats, I lose a game in basketball, and then you hear the stories of these guys and everything you’ve done seemed so minor compared to what they’ve done,” said Cone.
As part of the program, Cone said the team intends to bring the Hero Foundation scholars and their families to watch the San Mig games in the ongoing Governors Cup, something they have done the past two seasons.
“It’s so ironic because movie stars, basketball players, coaches, they are so popular and they make big money, and then you see guys like that, literally giving their lives and also teachers, who don’t have the opportunity and popularity,” he said.
“If you’ve really look at it the proper way, they (soldiers and teachers) should be the (one’s who are) popular and the celebrities and not us. I think that hits home when you see them."