TIM Cone himself seemed to have raised the white flag early on for the team known for its never-say-die spirit.
Obviously frustrated seeing nothing was going right for Barangay Ginebra in its game against Alaska, Cone spent most of the second half sitting on the bench as the Aces dealt his team its worst loss in the PBA Philippine Cup, 101-86, Sunday night.
The Kings never got on track for the entire match watched by a crowd of 12,256 – the largest so far this season - at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, as the Aces raced to an early double-digit lead and comfortably sat on a 59-44 cushion at the half.
A patented Ginebra comeback that fans anticipated in the second half never came as Alaska, behind its pressing defense, outscored the Kings in the third quarter, 32-16, to practically seal the doom for Cone and Co.
The lead reached its biggest at 92-62 early in the fourth as Cone silently watched the action from the bench, letting top assistant Richard del Rosario do the talking during coaching huddles.
As has been the case in every Ginebra loss – except during finals – Cone refused to grant post-game interviews and hurriedly left the Big Dome accompanied by his son.
Grim signs actually manifested itself as early as the first quarter when Cone was called for a technical foul for entering the court. JV Casio sank the corresponding free throw that stretched Alaska’s lead to 14-6.
As it turned out, the night proved to be a long one for the most accomplished coach in PBA history.