The upcoming ‘Finals Trilogy’ between Brgy. Ginebra and Meralco will serve an opportunity for current Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone to tie the record of the legendary Robert Jaworski for most titles won as mentor of the country’s most popular team.
The 73-year old Jaworski, who won four championships during his stint, started playing for the team in 1984 and acted the dual role of playing coach from 1985 up until his retirement in 1998.
Under “The Big J’s” baton, the Gin Kings won the 1986 Open Conference, the 1988 All-Filipino Conference, the 1991 First Conference and the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup.
For his part, Cone assumed the head coaching position in 2015 and immediately led the team to three titles – the 2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup and the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup.
“He’s been an influence in my life in terms of basketball since I was literally 11-12 years old. I followed his career, incredibly all the way through and amazingly, I got to coach against him for many years,” said Cone on the possibility of duplicating Jaworki’s record.
Aside from gunning for his fourth title with his third team in the league, the 62-year old American will be going for his 22nd overall after winning 13 with the Alaska franchise and 5 with Purefoods/Magnolia.
Incidentally, Cone won over Jaworski in the 1991 Third Conference for his first career title and then followed it up with another win in the 1996 Governor’s Cup to complete a Grand Slam. The ‘Living Legend’ returned the favor in the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup for his last PBA crown.
“He’s probably one of the biggest impacts in my life because basketball’s been so important to me throughout my life. Now I got to know him, see him and get to talk like friend, it’s like me getting a chance to talk to Phil Jackson, someone like that so it’s really an honor. I’m sure, he doesn’t see it that way. But for me, it’s truly an honor to be around and have a chance to interact with him,” said Cone.