PBA: Ahead of bubble, Tim Cone took notes from Coach Spo, Miami Heat

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2020 02:58 PM

PBA: Ahead of bubble, Tim Cone took notes from Coach Spo, Miami Heat 1
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- In winning the "most unique championship" in the history of the PBA, Ginebra coach Tim Cone got some tips from another coach who also reached the finals in their own bubble.

Cone revealed that he had some communication with Miami coach Erik Spoelstra before the Heat's NBA Finals series with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he followed their journey in the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Complex in Florida.

This gave him some idea of what was to come for the Gin Kings when the PBA set up its own bubble in Clark, Pampanga.

"I had a chance a couple of times to communicate with coach Erik Spoelstra before they actually went into the finals," Cone said Wednesday, after Ginebra ended the PBA bubble as champions of the Philippine Cup.

"Of course, I was following the Miami Heat very closely and what they were doing. And so, it gave us a little bit of feel by following them so closely," he added.

Cone said that in a conversation with a friend of Spoelstra, he jokingly said that he wanted to "at least match" what Coach Spo did, and thus lead his team to the finals.

But the Ginebra coach also said that he did not expect they could do it. The Gin Kings were far from their best when the PBA season restarted, as they were without center Greg Slaughter while veterans LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar were recovering from various ailments. 

As it turned out, Cone more than matched Spoelstra's accomplishment as he steered the Gin Kings to their first All-Filipino title in 13 years. The Heat fell to the Lakers in six games in the NBA Finals.

"But again, the NBA experience was one thing. I think the PBA experience was a totally different thing," said Cone.

"It will be fun now to sit down and compare notes, then talk about things that happened there and what happened here. I haven't had that opportunity yet, but I'd like to think that's sometime in the future," he added.

The Heat spent some three months in the NBA bubble, and will get just over two months to rest before the new NBA season starts later this month. 

Cone and the Gin Kings, meanwhile, were inside the Clark bubble for just over two months. It was a unique experience that the coach relished, especially after capping it off with a championship. 

On Wednesday night, he expressed his gratitude to those who made the bubble possible, from the PBA to their hosts at Quest Hotel.

"But honestly, we're ready to go home," he said, laughing. "After two and a half months, we're ready to go home." 

"But it was a really great experience. And we weren't responsible for that; everybody else was, so we can't thank them enough."

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