Cone on cusp of history

WILL Tim Cone go all the way?  I mean, will he gun for the Grand Slam with all his might?

I think that’s a foolish question, if not the most stupid, one could ever ask at this stage of the ball game.

Look, we are now into the PBA Third Conference, the last leg of what I now call Tim Cone’s epic journey in a bid to rewrite history in the first play-for-pay loop in Asia.

Actually, Tim Cone has already scored a Grand Slam in reverse because a Grand Slam in Philippine sports normally involves three tournaments won successively.

Tim Cone has won the PBA Governors’ Cup in October, next the All-Filipino Cup and then the PBA’s first Conference offering this season (Commissioner’s Cup).

That’s three-in-a-row.

Not a mean feat, you know.

Until Tim Cone did it, no coach has ever done that since the PBA’s birth in 1975.

A Grand Slam triumph (recorded in one season) has been achieved four times in 1976 (Crispa), 1983 (Crispa), 1989 (San Miguel Beer) and 1996 (Alaska).

But a three straight Conference championship connecting two seasons?

None.  Until Tim Cone came along.

Now, Tim Cone is on the cusp of history again.  With a victory in the Third Conference – which isn’t far-fetched considering he’s no stranger to championship tussles – he becomes the first coach to score two Grand Slams in 40 seasons of the PBA.  His first came in 1996 while he was coach of Alaska.

For Tim Cone then, his slogan coming to the Third Conference could well be, “Been there.  Done that.”

Scary, huh?

And if his rivals don’t shudder at the thought, who are they fooling?

With 16 PBA titles to his name, Tim Cone has become the undisputed King of The Hill.  And look, his last victory alone was a terrifying testament to this:  His victim in winning the Commissioner’s Cup 3-1 last week was no less than Norman Black, a Grand Slam champion himself in 1989.  And if life isn’t ironic enough, Black was a Grand Slam coach while piloting San Miguel Beer, a sister team of Slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee.  Black has transferred a while back to Talk ’N Text, San Miguel’s chief foe for PBA supremacy.

For the record, the first Grand Slam in 1976 was scored by the legendary Baby Dalupan while he was coaching the fabled Crispa.  Crispa repeated in 1983 under Tommy Manotoc.

If Tim Cone wins his second Grand Slam this season, big deal.

Call me a kill joy, but because I have this sneaky feeling he’d clinch it, I renamed the Third Conference Tim Coneference.

Up to the nine other coaches to prove me wrong, including Ginebra’s brand new coach Jeffrey Cariaso, who was Tim Cone’s protégé for many years at Alaska that he had also brought to San Miguel Corp. only some three years back.

I’m not worried one bit.

As Tim Cone would also want me to say, “Been there. Done that.”

ALL IN     The Vios Cup on Saturday, May 24, at Clark is not an ordinary car racing.  While it would feature some 30 racers on board 30 Vios units of the same make and souped up to simulate actual racing muscles, five TV/movie stars and five of my media colleagues are pitting their talents against 20 others of varied backgrounds, including a couple of 16-year-old aspiring racers and big-time businessmen like Charlie Cojuangco.  Since Toyota has made the race at Clark open to the public as it is also designed for a family-day outing , see you there…Vrrrmmm!




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