SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone explained why he sat down and let assistant Richard del Rosario make the calls in the crucial stretch in Game 4 of their semifinal faceoff against Meralco.
Cone was seen sitting down on the sidelines after the Kings trailed 31-46 early in the third frame and remained as such for most of the second half as Del Rosario took over in drawing the plays.
Ginebra eventually lost 83-80 and squandered a chance to close out the series.
“You know this is about being a team. This is not about me. Whoever is doing the right thing at that time whether it be a player or coach, we’re gonna go with that person,” said the most decorated mentor in the league.
“Richard took over in the third quarter and brought us back in the game. I tried to support him and let him continue through,” he added.
The Kings indeed clawed their way back from that 15-point deficit and even had an 80-79 lead on Japeth Aguilar’s back-to-back basket with 1:25 left in the game.
However, Reynel Hugnatan drilled in the go-ahead long jumper before Raymond Almazan swatted away Stanley Pringle’s potential game-winning layup.
“He (Del Rosario) did a tremendous job to get us back in the game and get us the lead. And I thought he made a great play down the stretch better than I would’ve made it. It worked out the way we wanted to. We just came up short,” said Cone.
The 62-year-old American tactician reiterated his point that his decision was for the good of the team, adding that he has done it numerous times in his storied coaching career.
“Like I said, it’s not about me. It’s never about me. It’s never about any player, not about Stanley. We’re a team,” he said. “And just like a player, if a player is not playing well then we’ll pull him out and put a player out there who’s been playing well and leave him out there. So, same thing.”
“For me it’s not a big deal. It might be a big deal to you guys but it’s not a big deal. I’ve done this many many times in my career and you see, it works. Today it almost worked. I’ll do it again at some point.”