Multi-titled coach Tim Cone said winning back-to-back PBA titles has in no way diminished San Mig Super Coffee’s drive to win more championships even though veterans like James Yap, Peter June Simon, Marc Pingris and Joe Devance have been slowed down this season due to injuries.
In fact, Cone said he has reasons to believe that his current roster is much deeper compared to what he had the past two seasons - and therefore better equipped to cope with the demands of another title run.
“I don’t think motivation is an issue for these guys (Mixers). They enjoy winning (championships). They will just come out and play at a high level,” Cone told Spin.ph during the Mixers’ victory party on Thursday night held at the San Miguel Corp. head office in Pasig.
With rookies Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton and sophomore guard Alex Mallari playing big off the bench during the Philippine Cup playoffs leading to the franchise’s 11th PBA title overall, the 56-year-old San Mig coach believes they have enough energy to sustain their title aspirations this season.
“Our second group should be able to maintain the energy. We have a combination of a veteran core and young group,” he added.
Cone has steered San Mig to back-to-back PBA titles, having won the Governors Cup last season via a 4-3 conquest of Petron, before the team’s 4-2 Finals win over Rain or Shine last week.
In all, the American mentor has now won 16 PBA championships, making him the all-time most successful coach in the history of Asia’s first play-for-pay basketball league, surpassing his idol, the venerable Baby Dalupan.
The Mixers were already back in practice on Thursday as they begin preparing for their first game in the mid-season conference against the GlobalPort Batang Pier next Wednesday.
Cone believes incoming import James Mays is a nice fit for the Mixers in the import-spiced conference.
“We like him (Mays) a lot. He can play with great energy. He defends well,” said Cone of their American reinforcement.
Cone said he doesn’t need Mays to light up the scoreboard for the Mixers given the numerous gunners they have in the team.
“I don’t think he’s a guy who will score 45 points for us. But I think he’ll do a lot of things and help us,” he added.
Mays, who arrived in Manila last January, played for the Springfield Armor in the NBA Development League in the 2012-13 season where he was eventually named to the Prospects All-Star roster for the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game.
He also had stops with the Maine Red Claws before being traded to the Sioux Falls Skyforce in exchange for Gabe Pruitt.
He also joined the San Antonio Spurs for the 2013 NBA Summer League.
The 230-pound Mays is also no stranger to overseas basketball, having played for the Beijing Ducks in China followed by stints in Puerto Rico and Turkey.