It is only fitting to honor the man responsible for steering Barangay Ginebra to the top of easily the most challenging season ever held in PBA history.
Tim Cone was bestowed with the Outstanding Coach of the Bubble award in the PBA Press Corps Awards on Sunday for his work in the Clark bubble, which led to the Gin Kings winning the 2020 Philippine Cup crown.
“I have great love for the Dalupan family. It’s truly an honor for me to be associated with him in any situation,” said Cone.
“This doesn’t come around very often. I am truly honored.”
This is now the fourth time that the 62-year-old has won top coach honors. He won his first-ever Baby Dalupan Coach of the Year award in 1994, and then won two more in 1996 and 2014 — both times where he won the Grand Slam.
Returning TNT head coach Chot Reyes, his former assistant in Alaska, has the most number of CotY awards with five. San Miguel chief mentor Leo Austria has four in his collection, including the 2019 honors.
Cone was adjudged as the bubble’s best coach by the men and women covering the PBA beat. Hhe kept Ginebra on-track despite the uncertainties brought upon by the pandemic, as well as the health status of his players.
After center Greg Slaughter decided to skip the season, Cone also faced the spectre of key players LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar lacking match fitness entering the bubble due to personal reasons.
But the brilliant mentor that he is, Cone found a way to keep the Kings competitive until both Tenorio and Aguilar were healthy enough to anchor the team’s campaign once more.
The end result had the Kings winning their 13th championship overall at the expense of corporate rivals TNT Tropang Giga in five games. They have tied the fabled Crispa franchise at no. 4 overall in the all-time winning list.
Cone, on the other hand, solidified his legacy as the league’s most accomplished coach with 23 titles tucked under his belt. And he definitely looks to add more, first by trying to defend their title next season.