While the NBA lockout continues to show no signs of ceasing up, the local basketball scene has continued to capture the attention of Filipino basketball fans. After some Draft Day surprises with major shake ups in some PBA teams’ rosters and the entry of the highly-touted Smart-Gilas stars, the coaching staffs followed the lead. Rumors about major changes in the coaching staffs of some squads spread like wildfire, causing some guessing games on social networking sites and forums. It turned out the rumors packed a lot of credibility.
Barako Bull (former Air21) acquired the services of multi-titled amateur coach Junel Baculi; Ginebra announced they promoted Siot Tanquincen to the head-coaching position, sharing the post with coach Jong Uichico (which I really don’t think will last); and then B-Meg replaced coach Jorge Gallent with former assistant coach Richard Del Rosario. But anyone privy to the Philippine basketball circles, knew there was a bigger news waiting to be revealed. And the Alaska Aces management didn’t want to prolong the guessing game.
After 22 years of tenure in the Alaska franchise, leading the Fred Uytengsu team to 13 titles including the precious Grand Slam feat in the 90’s, the decorated coach who introduced the beauty of triangle offense into the league realized he wasn’t really going to end his career with the team – at least for the moment.
Coach Time Cone decided he “needed a new challenge.”
While I believe there is more than just looking for “new challenge” behind Cone’s departure from a team that has been the catalyst of his metamorphosis into the coaching great he is right now, I think he has more than earned the right of coming up with this decision.
Cone has proved his loyalty and affection for the team. If two decades of sticking it up with a single team through the ups and downs isn’t loyalty, then I don’t know what it is. Maybe it wouldn’t be too much of a luxury for the Alaska franchise to fittingly hand a deserving man an opportunity to explore new horizons now that he is nearing the twilight of his illustrious career. And team owner Fred Uytengsu’s acceptance of Cone’s resignation despite a live contract until 2013 is a testament of Tim Cone’s true worth on their franchise and of the solid bond they have developed throughout the years.
It will be a difficult pill to swallow for the Alaska fans, coaching staff, management, and especially the players. Alaska has seen great players in the likes of Johnny Abbarientos, Jojo Lastimosa, Bong Hawkins, and Willie Miller flourish on their team only to get traded along the way. But none of those compares to this parting. Cone has been the face and the main pillar of the franchise. Perhaps everybody expected to see Cone retire with the team. But I guess not all love story really ends on a happy ending.
But who knows, this change might have been the spark Alaska needed to start bringing back their glory days. Maybe Cone knew it all along that he didn’t have the same urge to take this team to the top anymore. As what Steve Jobs said, it’s impossible to connect the dots looking forward. When we look back to this moment in the future, we’ll most probably have a better understanding of it all.
For now, ironic as it may seem to me (I’m a Ginebra fan btw), let me dedicate my first post here in paying tribute to one great coach and to the greatest story of loyalty and excellence in Philippine basketball.
Good luck Alaska Aces and coach Tim Cone!
About 2 hours away from PBA’s own version of “The Decision”. BTW, I’m wondering why ABC5/AKTV didn’t get the rights to televise this Alaska press conference.
Make it a 30 minute show out of it, make a video montage of Tim Cone raising his arms for every Willie Miller’s questionable shots thrown. Then, Joaqui Trillo interviewed by Mico Halili, proceeds going to the Alaska foundation.
Anyways, Ms. Beth Celis already spilled the milk, er, the beans. Something like Tim Cone doing something else, like a TV job perhaps (or coach another PBA team?) and Banal being the head Milkman.
But in this off-season with lots of things happening, highs (like the much talked about draft) & lows (like the backstage scandal), anything can happen. As they say, the ball is round. So with 2 hours to go before the Alaska presscon, other than the Beth Celis scoop, here are some of the things that can happen later:
- Will Alaska announce that they’ll drop coaches’ long sleeves game day attire with polo shirt a la BGK?
- Will Alaska announce that they put something on Ding Panganiban’s drinks while negotiating for for the Boy Cabahug – Jojo Lastimosa trade?
- Will Alaska announce that they’ll take their talents to the ABL?
- Or, will Alaska finally reveal that the white boy in the classic alaska commercial is none other than Dickie Bachman!
What do you think?
Whoever thought of starting the Jr. NBA programÂ is a genius.Â Amazing how people with passion and skill for basketball can share this to boys who are building on their skills as well.
When I saw the Jr. NBA ads and commercial on BTV, I couldnâ€™t help but say that the PBA should come up with something similar, as in like a Corporate Social Responsibility thing. Sure weâ€™ve seen the likes of Patricia Bermudez-Hizon spearhead outreach activities involving some players. Iâ€™m just saying, genuine caring should never say, â€œIâ€™ve done enough.â€ After all, who else can and should care more for the young Filipino ballers, right? We have big team names in the league with bigger capabilities and resources, so… why not?
Besides, if Alaska can sponsor Â the Jr. NBA events in the Philippines, pooling in and a little â€œteamworkâ€ from every team can make it a possibility. (Iâ€™d like to see Cojuanco and Pangilinan, get along tooâ€¦ OK, if thatâ€™s too much for their businesses, in PBA â€œCSRsâ€ na lang.) If we want something to flourish, then the idea of it must be passed on, right?(and Iâ€™m not talking about just the D-League here.)
So going back to the Jr. NBA, hereâ€™s a little overview of what the program is and how it transpired in the Philippines:
The Jr. NBA, presented by Alaska, Â has been in the Philippines for the past four years. It has been extending and improving its program since they first launched it here.Â True enough, all its events have been well â€“ attended by Filipino boys, aged 10-14. This year, Jr. NBA has been all over the Philippines, reaching over 400 schools nationwide.
The Jr. NBA program consists of three stages: the School Program, the Regional Selection Camps and the National Training Camp. The best ten (10) students in the National Training Camp will make up the Jr. NBA Philippine All-Star Team. Â The past yearsâ€™ all-star teams have been rewarded with the ultimate NBA experience, while learning so much about the necessary skills and attitude of outstanding basketball players.
Last yearâ€™s Jr. NBA Philippine All Star team was able to visit Beijing and witnessed a live NBA game. The boys attest to the one-of-a-kind experience and even shared stories of their most unforgettable memories. (I’ll tell you about it on another post!)
So for the first time on March 26, 2011, I saw that NBA-caring with my own eyes, during the GMA regional selection of the Jr. NBA program at Xavier Campus.
Hundreds (Around 400 but I think I saw more!) of boys from GMA registered and qualified to join the regional selections. Minimum qualifications, as I saw it: must know how to play basics of basketball (yes, like shoot and dribble) and must love basketball, simply put.
After some pep talk from Coach Jama Mahlalela (Head of NBA Asia Operations, former Toronto Raptor), the boys went through a series of mini-clinics of basketball skills. Coach Jojo Lastimosa (8 time PBA all-star , former Purefoods, Alaska and Pop Cola player) Â also delivered an inspirational message to the boys, telling of his past experiences, and the right mind-set to become a successful player. Â A Gatorade representative also shared why it is important to hydrate and re-rehydrate prior to, during, and after sport activities. Trust me, I was so interested in their talks too, even if I wasnâ€™t a participant.Â
The boys went through a series of stations which tested their skills: Dribbling, passing, shooting, jumping. They also had stations for their other kinetic abilities (push ups, core exercises, etc.) plus stations which measured their vital statistics. Their scores in these stations were weighted, and were used to select the top 40, then top 10 participants for the GMA regional selections.
So the 40 boys of varying (extremely varying, even) heights were screened again, to be able to select the top ten. The top ten qualified players will move on to the basketball camp on April 9-11, 2011 along with the other qualifiers from the other regional selections. Venue is at the LSGH Campus, with Frank Lopez and AC Green being in the coaching team too.
See, after all, lifeâ€™s a ball. Good luck, boys! Â
Kobe Lorenzo Paras, Ferdinand Ravena III, Bouyer Airam Aseron, Lorenzo Fernando Navarro,Â Jarrell Lim, Aleck Jon Melecio and Alfred Sajulga, Chino Manuel Mosqueda, Tsaddy John Tabaldo,Justine Oliver Serrano.
My thoughts on last nightâ€™s games (March 25,2011)…
At this point in such a short conference, every PBA team wanted to get every win they could, in every game they play.Â Watching from the sidecourts and upclose TV-side, Â this seemed evidently so, except for one team. (Bet, the team you first thought ofâ€”is probably right.)
The San Miguel Beermen didnâ€™t prove us wrong tonight either. Friday night- PBA night started with an exciting match of the Aces vs. the Bolts, with then TNT vs. SMB to cap the night off, making us, literally sleepy.
Coach Ryan Gregorio and his team wanted more wins to escape elimination (bottom four teams get cut from this conference), and coming from a 2 â€“game winning streak, their confidence is really high up. Iâ€™ve said this before: when Cardona was traded to Meralco from TNT, it did wonders for TNTâ€™s game. Not that Iâ€™m a Cardona hater. That he is good is an understatement, but we very well know he raked in points for his team. The Tropang Texters, without Mac, however, oozed with what teamwork meant, showing that every player was essential, and every player pretty much knew what his role was in the team.Â Sure, not all of the TNT guys now can make so much points as Cardona usually can in a single game, but their overall efficiency puts them at the top spot. Except for Rich Alvarez, everyone in TNTâ€™s bench played tonight. (Why? I donâ€™t know too. A little help here, @fmango? @snowbadua?)
Going back to Alaskaâ€™s and Meralcoâ€™s game, I would normally root for Coach Tim Coneâ€™s men. He is my childhood- hero- coach, afterall. But tonight, I was cheering for the Bolts too! (So in other words, no sides, just enjoying the hoops excitement..while it lasted!) I have to give it to Meralco: they definitely play better than the Beermen now, showing finally some chemistry among their players. Sol Mercado and Mac Cardonaâ€™s stats were pretty impressive, and putting Ross there just added more spark to Meralcoâ€™s game. Meralco was up most for most parts of the game, up until LA Tenorio was unstoppable, shooting his 3â€™s like crazy. From a low of 10 points, Milkmen managed to tie the game, and put it on overtime, with a slim lead. Of course, you gotta give it to Joe Devance too. What sprain were you talking about, Joe??
Coach Ryanâ€™s face spelled disappointment, but Coach, at least it was not without a fight! Meralco showed a little â€œpower disturbancesâ€ towards the end, which need a little working on, I guess. A little more chemistry for Sol Mercado and Mac Cardona, and they wouldâ€™ve nailed it. (That last opportunity to shoot with seconds left? Couldâ€™ve tied the game again for a 2OT. I personally think Mercado shouldâ€™ve just made that shot. Nawalan ng connection bigla? Nag-fluctuate ang kuryente?)
As for the Tropang Texters and Beermen, yes, as the teaser said, weâ€™ve seen this match-up just recently, only now, the Beermen, seemed to have lost all hope for a win. Ganun na lang yun??
From that closing still of gameface Alapag vs. and Smiley Cabagnot, I sensed something wrong already. Sure, SMB import Young scored so much, but not enough to save them .(Ehem. Team sport, pwede po gumawa yung iba.And they even thought of replacing Young now? )Â Cabagnot made sure shots, but judging from how he played last conference, he couldâ€™ve done better on these games. In the dome, and trending on twitter, everybody was wondering, â€œwhy, beermen, why?â€ Â So if this is a side effect of that blockbuster trade, itâ€™s about time we all move on. Air 21 has started building up and so should SMB.
Iâ€™ll say it again anyway, sh*tty trade, sh*tty games. (Sorry, but I suddenly remembered Hussainiâ€™s Kebab tweetâ€¦ we mentioned that somewhere here before.. funny lang.) Iâ€™ve never seen an SMB game without drive, without soul. I couldnâ€™t even feel the SMB fans there! (Last confy, I cheered for the Beermen. This time, I sayâ€¦what beermen? Disappointing. Danny I. shouldâ€™ve been traded too, baka may panalo pa. I can almost feel for him. ) Looking at the coaches, Coach Chot seemed to have that â€œIâ€™m sitting back now, relaxâ€ face, while Coach Ato seemed to sport Â the â€œIâ€™m sitting back now, alam na, ito na naman, Ktnxbye,â€ Â face.
So if theyâ€™re changing team names, I hope it happens soon, before these guys taint the â€œBeermenâ€ stereotype to a negative tone. But they couldâ€™ve a least ended the SMB namesake with a fight.
It’s but fitting the we end this poll today. On the last game of the conference, Alaska got 44% of the votes. Tonight, TnT would like to point out to those 44 people who picked Alaska that they are wrong. Game 7 tonight, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Who Will Go All The Wayâ€¦
- Alaska? (44%)
- San Miguel? (25%)
- Talk n Text? (23%)
- Sta. Lucia? (9%)
Total Votes: 101
What a series. This series is probably one of the best championships that I’ve watched in the history of the PBA. And I’m not even a fan of either team. Well, if you appreciate the game and all you want to do is sit back relax and watch an exciting game between two teams with contrasting styles, well this one’s for you.
Moving on, Tim Cone is raging mad on Mac Cardona’s antics. Have you guys seen his statement after Game 6? He was mad, real mad. I’ve never seen a coach so angry on an opposing team’s player before. Here it is..
The next time he taunts our players, he is going to hit his head on the floor,â€ Cone said. â€œHeâ€™s done it four times in this series and he has only been warned once. That starts fights.
â€œMy players are not going to back down,â€ said Cone, referring to Sunday night when Cardona hit a short stab, was fouled by Tenorio, and jumped up and down while screaming at Tenorio.”
Taken from Off the bench
Well, if you’re an Alaska fan.. man, those statements could bring shivers down to your spine mainly because..
It’s clear that Macmac Cardona is getting into Tim Cone’s head which means..
… The Alaska defenders are going to be more physical on Cardona…
…. which means more freethrows, possible technical fouls and momentum shifting flagrants if that’s so.
In my opinion, Tim needs to settle down and cool off. So far, Alaska has done a great job on containing Macmac and he needs to keep it that way. It’s given, Mark Cardona would burn you with atleast 15 a game on a bad night. This series? Mac has been averaging 19.5 Points per game on 19 shots a ball game. He’s also committing 4.3 TOs compared to 2 assists per game. But the key this series is how they were able to keep Macmac off the line. Mac has only been into the line for 14 times this series, and for a guy who’s averaging 19 shots per ball game you’d expect more. That’s why I’m saying Alaska shouldn’t overreact to Macmacs’ taunting because that will only result to them trying to pressure Cardona more, will result into more foul shots.. thus more points for Captain Hook.
On another note, Alaska is supposed to be the bigger team here. Then why on earth are they getting dominated on the boards by a 6’3 (With high heels on) Harvey Carey and a 6’4 Ali Peek? One MAJOR KEY for Alaska tomorrow will be boxing out on Carey and Peek.
Last note, does anyone other than me notice the play that Tim has been setting in during clutch time? IMO, he’s pulling a Mike Brown here and it’s not good. The play is called “Give the ball to Willie Miller and get out of the way”. That’s not a good way to pull a championship off, especially with how Talk and Text has been defending the Best Player of the Conference this season. They’re better off with the ball in the hands of LA, the ball is rotating more, the movement of the players are good and LA can definitely make things happen with his dribble penetration.
That being said, tomorrow marks the day where superstars will be made. I expect an epic performance from Mark Cardona and Jimmy Alapag tomorrow for Talk and Text and Willie Miller for Alaska. Notice the difference? Willie actually needs someone to help him carry the offensive load. Who will it be? Well it’s for us to find out. See you guys.
Last note, I’m trying to put up a live blog here at Hoops (Ala Ball Don’t Lie) tomorrow and if anyone is interested, check this site up later, I’ll try it make it work.
Photo from eestrada.
Supposed to be, I’ll do a live game blog now, but my internet connection is moody at best, just like Cardona’s game. From a spectacular semis clincher, to a stinker finals first game. And so, live blog is canceled. Will still try in the second half though.
After Mac Cardona sucked big time… 6 of 21 fgs and firing out ofÂ set plays thus they have no chance of getting offensive rebounds coz his teammates are clueless when and where and HOW he’ll fire the shots… and he registered 8 mega turnovers as well…
I am now only 3 games away from losing P500.00. I am for TnT on this PBA all filipino finals.
Man,Â P500 can already buy me decent t-shirt orÂ 2 pcs of SCRED SHIRTS. =)
LA Tenorio, in the words of Chot Reyes, ate TnT guards the last time. May I say too,Â Tenorio sniffed them? To the detractors, saying that ALASKA made a bad move in getting Devance for the right to get Solomon Mercado, look who made the right choice now says Coach Tim Cone. But I highly doubt if Tenorio could register high 20s scoring in this second game.
By the way, Joe Devance had a decent 14 points in the first game.
The game will start in a few minutes. Ranidel De Ocampo will suit up this time (he’s suspended in game 1).
Hopefully, TnT bounces back and GO ALL THE WAY. If you are a TNT fan, vote for them, in the HOOPS poll. GO HERE.
Update: January 31, 2009
Here’s Willie Miller doing the Game 2 post game press chat…