Will Tim Cone bring his coaching magic to Barangay Ginebra?
Grandslam-winning coach at Alaska Milk and at Star, Cone starts his journey with Barangay Ginebra in tangling with his former team the Star Hotshots in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
The Gin Kings and the Hotshots mix it up at 5:15 p.m. before an expected sellout crowd.
“It’s been a long break and it feels good to get back at it,” said Cone, bracing for a tough battle with his former deputy Jason Webb and former players led by James Yap, Peter June Simon and Marc Pingris.
“It’s always tough to face your ex-players and it is especially hard to face them in your first game. But we’re excited to get going. Just like everyone else, I’m curious to see how our guys respond. This is the first baby step of our journey together,” Cone said.
Cone took a little while to make Alaska a champion team, same with his stint over at Star.
Can he whip up the Kings to winning form after years of underachieving performances? That’s the million-peso question.
The Gin Kings have been under several coaches and have undergone major facelifts without achieving their desired result. Ginebra has been without a crown for nearly a decade now.
The mix Cone will try to get on winning track includes Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, LA Tenorio, Chris Ellis, Sol Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, Rodney Brondial, Dave Marcelo and Nico Salva.
Joe Devance moved over from Star. He’s the latest addition to the team along with rookies Scottie Thompson, Aljon Mariano and Denice Villamor.
The Kings face a Star team aching to bounce back from an 87-96 loss to Rain or Shine in the season inaugurals Wednesday.
Webb doesn’t expect things to become easier for his team.
“With Ginebra, you could give the advantage to them. Nakita na nila kami, although what they saw weren’t something pretty. They’re a tough matchup for us or any team sa laki nila,” said Webb.