BE careful with what you wish for.
That seems to be the message Tim Cone is trying to remind himself and the rest of Barangay Ginebra as they enter the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs as the top seed.
Vocal about wanting to claim the No. 1 spot at the end of the eliminations, Cone got his wish after the Gin Kings dispatched Mahindra, 94-80, on Friday night to finish with a 9-2 win-loss record, the same as Star, but ahead owing to the winner-over-the-other rule.
Now, the champion coach is being careful in handling the heavy burden that top seed entails.
“It’s nice to be the number one seed, but there will always be expectations that come with being the number one seed,” Cone said. “It’s something we have to battle and make sure we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves and don’t live up to the expectations.”
“Just do the things that we know we can do to be successful,” he added. “That’s the goal at this point.”
The Gin Kings are now waiting for the winner of the playoff for the eighth spot pitting Alaska and GlobalPort.
“If we play Alaska, it will be the third straight quarterfinal against Alaska,” Cone said of his former team. “They’re an incredibly dangerous team and when they got things going well, they’re very, very good.”
“The other choice is (Terrence) Romeo and (Stanley) Pringle, and it’s an incredible challenge staying with those guys,” he added.
“We got our work cut out for us,” Cone continued. “We’re the number one seed, we got twice to beat, but there are still tough teams out there that we have to beat in the quarterfinals.”
Cone, though, has had success even without his team finishing the regular season on top, having won a record 19 championships with his teams usually finishing in the middle of the pack, before gaining steam in the postseason.
The last time a Cone-coached team ended up as the top seed in an import-loaded conference was in 1998 with an Alaska side bannered by Devin Davis, who anchored the team to the title.
“It’s never been a real concern being number one,” Cone said. “I never felt that. If it’s available, you go for it, but if it’s not, it’s not something we go for at all costs. I’ve not been number one many times in my career.”