PUREFOODS Star coach Tim Cone said the Hotshots are ready to move on and open the PBA Commissioner’s Cup without youthful big man Yousef Taha, who was slapped with a two-game suspension and a P60,000 fine by the Commissioner’s Office on Monday for punching Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson last week.
Cone expressed dismay over Taha’s “overreaction” during a rebound battle with Jackson in the tune-up match on Friday at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
“He’s gotta learn. That’s the bottom line. That’s (punching Jackson) not acceptable and what he did, I can’t put a good spin on it anyway you want because it was an overreaction,” Cone told Spin.ph shortly after being informed of Taha’s two-game ban on Monday night.
The 57-year-old Cone, one of Spin.ph’s Top 10 Sportsmen for 2014, said he just hopes the Fil-Kuwaiti slotman would not repeat the same mistake.
“In many ways, the suspension is well-deserved. I hope that sent him a strong message. I’ve sent him a strong message, the league has sent him a strong message and we just can’t tolerate that kind of behavior in our team,” stressed Cone.
“That’s not what represents us so he’ll have to learn or not learn, but it’s really up to him. He’s a young guy and an emotional guy, but we’re gonna keep working with him.”
Purefoods Star opens the mid-season import-laced conference against GlobalPort on Friday with Marqus Blakely, the shortest import at under 6-5.
Cone admitted that the team took a hit with Taha’s suspension, considering that they won’t have 6-foot-9 import Daniel Orton until his contract with the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association expires on February 1.
“He’s (Taha) crucial to us because with Marqus, we needed a big men to defend against the bigger imports, but it’s (suspension) something you can’t control so you just try to overcome it,” explained the league’s only two-time grand slam coach.