With Alaska, he had Sean Chambers. At Purefoods, he had Marqus Blakely. With Barangay Ginebra, Tim Cone has stuck with Justin Brownlee.
Cone acknowledged he prefers to utilize that one foreign enforcement for a long while especially if he's coachable and talented.
That could help to explain why he is the PBA's winningest coach with a 22 conferences titles
"One of the things I learned early in my career, through having Sean Chambers, was that once you get a good import, you stick with him. I don't care if you're winning, or losing, as long as he's coachable and he's talented, and he's making you better, you stick with him," Cone said in the "Coaches Unfiltered" podcast.
Good imports evolve, Cone added, which is good for the team.
"In 1989, when I joined Alaska, (Sean) was the import. I didn't recruit Sean, he came in as a replacement just like Justin (Brownlee) . . . I never recruited him," said Cone.
"But he grew from 1989 into that Grand Slam team, '94, '95, '96. Then '97, '98, we were going to 12 finals appearances in 13 conferences or whatever. He's still the winningest import of all time."
Cone said those were the same qualities he saw in Blakely.
"I got Marqus, I got the chance to keep bringing back Marqus. That guy brought us to the Grand Slam. We used him in a previous conference, we used him in the Grand Slam conference, there was comfortablity and he'd improve, he understood the league," said Cone, who also plans to work with Brownlee well into the future.
"Just the idea of understanding what he needs to do to be successful. He just evolves his game and he's forced to evolve it because of Alaska's defense, San Miguel's defense, whatever. He's constantly evolving," Cone added, referring to Brownlee.
"When you can find an import who evolves like that . . . You stick with him."
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