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Tim Cone relishes stint as Miami Heat assistant coach

TJ Manotoc | TFC News Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted at Jul 30 2022 05:11 PM

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The recent NBA Summer League saw another first for Pinoy hoops fans when the winningest coach in PBA history had a rare chance to be a part of the coaching staff of an NBA team.

Barangay Ginebra's Tim Cone served as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat. He said he was in awe with how professional and detailed the team worked.

"It's almost indescribable, the whole immersion, you know. I've been able to do all the inside look now and how they prepare. We had four practices to get the whole team ready," Cone shared.

"It's just amazing to watch the progression of the players and how they've come together."

Cone is grateful to his good friend, Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra for making this opportunity happen, but he also credits a former Gilas and PBA star for really opening the door.

"Actually it started with, what, Jimmy [Alapag]? Jimmy was doing it with Sacramento, what I'm doing now and we get on the phone. He got on the phone and when he was here at Summer League, and he said to me, 'Tim, why aren't you here doing this,' Like Jimmy's doing it. And I said, 'Well, no one's ever invited me. You know, I mean, I died to do it. If I could.' He says okay, we'll do it next year."

Cone has won 24 PBA championships in his stellar 33-year career, but he insisted that there is still so much to learn as the game evolves.

"I think there's just a realization that there's a lot to learn, a lot to transfer back to the team, and it's a unique opportunity for me to be able to come out and do this," Cone said. "The game evolves and if you don't evolve with it, you're gonna be left behind. So I've really tried to stay relevant in what things are going on. I've really tried hard throughout my career to do that."

He added, "coming here [in the NBA Summer League] and seeing what the Heat do and seeing what they do defensively, it's just a total eye opener."

With this special opportunity and coach Jimmy Alapag now with the Sacramento G-League team, Cone hopes more doors open for other Pinoy coaches.

"I think this is really important for our league and for our coaches locally, and to have these kinds of connections... It's definitely a window that is opening to the NBA from a coaching standpoint. And wouldn't it be great to have more coaches from Asia, from the Philippines coaching in the NBA and not just coach Spo?"

For Cone, learning the game of basketball clearly never stops, and he hopes that other Pinoy coaches get the kind of opportunity that he got in the NBA with the ultimate goal of improving Philippine basketball.