SAN Mig has won four successive championships including a rare grand slam, but for coach Tim Cone doesn't see the team slowing down anytime soon.
The sky's the limit for this team, he said.
The most successful coach in PBA history said he believes his core of James Yap, Marc Pingris, Peter June Simon and Joe Devance is still in its prime to sustain one of the most dominant runs seen in the pro league.
“The sky is the limit for this team. We are not that old. Ping, PJ, Joe and James are still in their prime and we have a young group coming up behind them,” Cone said, moments after the Game Five win over Rain or Shine that made San Mig just the fourth grand slam team in the league.
While Yap and Co. have been the backbone of the team for so long, Cone has been able to surround them with youngsters like Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca, Justin Melton, Alex Mallari, Yousef Taha and Allein Maliksi who can help the team sustain its dominance.
“Ian is gonna be a regular in this league, along with Justin, and Mark is still very young and I think Yousef Taha is really gonna be a great player for us and for the league. So we’ll see, we have room to improve,” he added.
Cone now looks forward to the league's three-month offseason - a time, he said, for the team to rest and recharge as well as an opportunity for him to work with the team's young guns, which also includes center Isaac Holstein.
“We want to have the opportunity to recharge and finally work with Ian and Justin and Alex and Allein and work with those guiys one on one and Isaac and now Yousef and have a chance to really get my hands dirty and really try to get them to be better,” said the American coach.
“I think they can get better, they have a lot of room to grow and that’s gonna give us the chance to continue to compete,” he added.
With 18 championships and two grand slams to his name, what's the next challenge for Tim Cone?
“It’s winning the all-Filipino championship next year,” the 56-year-old coach said with a straight face. “We’ll just gonna go out, I don’t think this team is past their prime. They can come back and continue to compete.
"The (Philippine Cup) is important to our organization coz we lead the league in all-Filipino championships. So we will be motivated to come out and try to recharge our batteries and get ready for the all-Filipino.
“These guys have a special bond, they can continue to win. But there’s a lot of really good teams out there, obviously they will be gunning for us and it’ll be up to these guys if they want to come back and continue to win.”
View full video of interview with Tim Cone: