Brgy. Ginebra head coach Tim Cone sat out a good part of the second half of Game 4 of their semifinal series against Meralco and designated his top deputy Richard del Rosario to call the shots for the embattled Gin Kings.
The crowd darlings fell behind by as much as 15 in the early goings of the 3rd frame but fought back and outscored the Bolts, 33-16, to enter the payoff period with a 4-point edge, 64-40.
Cone disclosed that he handed the reigns over to del Rosario during that stretch and the move worked wonders.
“You know this is about being a team. This is not about me. Whoever is doing the right thing at that time whether it be a player or coach, we’re gonna go with that person,” said Cone.
“Richard took over in the third quarter and brought us back in the game. I tried to support him and let him continue through,” added the league’s winningest mentor.
With the game on the line and the Bolts up by a point, 81-80, del Rosario mapped out the final offensive set for the Gin Kings. The play, however, fell apart as Meralco big man Raymond Almazan rejected an undergoal stab by Stanley Pringle to preserve the victory for the Norman Black-mentored squad and arrange a winner-take-all match on Friday, November 27.
Despite the heartbreaking setback, Cone insists the decision was for the good of the team and that he would gladly do it again in the future.
“He (del Rosario) did a tremendous job to get us back in the game and get us the lead. And I thought he made a great play down the stretch better than I would’ve made it. It worked out the way we wanted to. We just came up short,” said Cone.
“For me it’s not a big deal. It might be a big deal to you guys but it’s not a big deal. I’ve done this many many times in my career and you see, it works. Today it almost worked. I’ll do it again at some point.”