ON Sunday, Barangay Ginebra tests the mettle of undefeated guest team Bay Area Dragons in a Commissioner’s Cup showdown pitting the most accomplished coach in PBA history against the winningest mentor in the annals of Australia's NBL.
Tim Cone opposite Brian Goorjian. Champion versus another champion. Two heavyweight coaches battling each other out.
Cone, however, would have none of the hype as Goorjian is someone he personally holds in high regard.
The Barangay Ginebra coach referred to the 69-year-old mentor of the Australian national team as a 'legend.'
“I really don’t look at it that way. You guys can look at it that way,” said a smiling Cone regarding his first match-up with Goorjian, who won six championships with three different teams in the NBL.
“You know he’s done everything, he coached in the NBL, he’s coached in the States, he’s coached internationally, and he’s really been successful.”
Goorjian, who steered the Boomers to their first-ever podium finish in the Tokyo Olympics, has so far steered the Dragons to a 3-0 start to take the top spot in the mid-season conference.
This will be the first time though, the Glendale, California native and product of Pepperdine University is going up against a man considered a coaching icon in Asia’s pioneering pro league, where he won a total of 24 titles with three different franchises, including two grand slams.
Cone admitted he doesn’t know Goorjian personally. Truth is, he hasn't talked to him yet, which he hopes to do so during the Dragons’ stay here in the country.
“He’s someone that I always heard about and someone I’ve always want to meet, but I’ve never met him,” he said.
“Maybe we can talk some basketball at some point,” added Cone. “But I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him all these years. We’ve crossed path but I don’t think we’ve ever met.”
Cone, whose team sports an even 1-1 record, disclosed he has watched some of the Dragons’ games.
“He’s a fantastic coach and I have fun watching their games because I feel there are things we can pick up from watching them,” he said.
Whatever happens, Cone hopes to get to know Goorjian personally and exchange notes about, what else but basketball.
“He has all my respect and I do hope to meet him one time,” said the Barangay Ginebra mentor.