GINEBRA coach Tim Cone stressed his team is so eager to defend its PBA Governors’ Cup title that it will do whatever it takes – even at the expense of denying San Miguel Beer a grand slam.
The two-time grand slam champion coach related that he read some fans’ Twitter posts speculating that the Gin Kings would give way to SMB’s quest for its second Triple Crown in franchise history if the two sister squads would meet down the road in the playoffs.
“I had to giggle at them (posts) because they’re like, ‘San Miguel’s going to win the grand slam…Ginebra can stop them, but no, management will tell them not to stop them,’” Cone said. “Are you kidding me? Even if management told us that, we still wouldn’t do it. But of course they would never tell us that."
“We want to win our own,” the league’s winningest coach was quick to add. “We’re not going to step aside and let them try to win a championship. Forget it; we’d never do that even if it was a grand slam or not. We’d never do that.”
Following management’s wishes of giving way – that fans are insinuating – would actually slap you the pink slip, Cone insisted.
“That’s a good way to get fired, I tell you,” Cone said. “You keep letting some other team win because they’re your sister team, you’re going to get fired after a while. We got to do our own winning. It thought it was kind of funny that people are thinking that.”
And how could the Gin Kings let the Beermen win if they want to beat them so badly?
“(San Miguel is) Ginebra’s number one rival – it’s not Talk ‘N Text; it’s not Meralco or Alaska even,” Cone insisted. “Our number one rival: San Miguel. Our number two rival? Star. We want to beat those guys more than anybody else, that’s for sure.”
“It’s like having three brothers and each brother’s trying to fight for attention from the dad and we’re all fighting for attention. Whenever someone else gets the attention, we’re angry,” he added. “We enjoy beating them more than we enjoy beating anybody else.”
Cone did admit that nothing would make SMC’s top brass happier than beating their corporate rivals, but the American mentor is also keen on beating their intra-company rivals.
“Management would prefer we beat Talk ‘N Text, but for us, we want to beat San Miguel, we want to beat Star,” Cone said. “And they feel the same way; I know it, because I could feel it.”
Cone, though, is hardly focused on denying San Miguel the grand slam – but simply just steering the Gin Kings in trying to complete their title-retention bid.
“We’re not going to worry about what San Miguel’s doing,” Cone said. “We got to take care of ourselves, so that’s number one. But if we get an opportunity to play them or knock them out, I mean yeah, we’re going to be very motivated – just like they’re going to be very motivated to win it all.”
The Gin Kings are expected to be the top threat to SMB’s bid, but Cone stressed it’s easier said than done, going as far as saying that the Beermen can win it all even without an import.
“We think we have an opportunity with Greg (Slaughter), but like I said, we’re going through a process right now,” Cone said. “We’re not as accomplished or tight in the game as San Miguel is. Our only advantage right now is we have Justin (Brownlee) consecutively, so we’re not adjusting to him, but we’re adjusting to Greg.”
“San Miguel’s going to have to adjust to McKines, but they’ve proven they can adjust to imports easily,” he added. “In fact, they can just play without him easily and still win. Whether they have an import or not doesn’t really matter for them. They’re so good.”
Still, Cone insisted that winning a grand slam is an arduous task to say the least. And he definitely knows what he’s talking about.
“It’s not a slam dunk by any means for any team to win a grand slam,” Cone said. “It’s a tough thing to do. More teams have failed at it than actually succeeded in winning the grand slam; In other words, they’ve won the first two conferences then lost the third conference.”
“It’s a tough road for them because everybody’s gunning for you…and we’re going to be one of the teams gunning for them,” he added.