Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tim Cone to Ginebra might not be such a bad thing

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Tim Cone to Ginebra might not be such a bad thing
by rick olivares pic by nuki sabio

Tim Cone as head coach of Ginebra?

Out with the t-shirts and welcome the necktie brigade for the architect of all the Ginebra lament and heartbreak during the 1990s — in fact Gary Granada wrote a song that encapsulated the frustration and later the elation — and coach of the RIVAL Purefoods team is being tabbed to resurrect this moribund franchise.

Back in its heyday, Alaska was like the Chicago Bulls running precise sets with deadly efficiency. Purefoods? They were the pretty boys; the darling of the teenybopper set. Except they had a mean game in them.

Ginebra? As I have said time and again, the late broadcaster Pinggoy Pengson described them right when he said that the squad was put together by “spit, blood, and Jaworski pride.” They were the has beens or never beens that went with the discards and cast-offs. But they were and are still the people’s team.

Cone going to Ginebra is at once a tantalizing thought yet that borders on apostasy. The run and gun that has been the hallmark of this ballclub since the 1980s will be replaced by the heir to Big Chief Triangle. They tried that earlier with Jeffrey Cariaso and they fell by the wayside. Now the foremost proponent of Tex Winter’s cherished offense will bring his panache and elan to Ginebra.

if you can’t beat him, ask him to join you. 

This is similar to when Allan Caidic moved over from San Miguel to join Ginebra as head coach. Except now you are bringing over A FRANCHISE COACH who owns the record for most PBA championships and HAS TURNED TWO TEAMS INTO VIRTUAL DYNASTIES and he doesn’t look to be anywhere done yet.

The days when you didn’t cross lines or club loyalties are long dead. That ended when Philip Cezar and Freddie Hubalde joined Sonny Jaworski over at Ginebra. 

So why not Cone? Why not indeed?

Even from across the bench, first with Alaska then with B-Meg/Purefoods, he understood Ginebra perfectly well. In the 1990s, he prevented that team of Jaworksi, Bal David, Noli Locsin, Vince Hizon, and Marlou Aquino from winning more than a few trophies. Two seasons ago, Ginebra looked like they were a team on the rise with the drafting of Greg Slaughter to go with some talented players. But an unfunny thing happened along the way when the Cone-mentored B-Meg bushwhacked them in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup that year. The mantle of invincibility and confidence was shredded by a team that would go on to win a Grand Slam. Ginebra hasn’t been the same since with talks of disenchantment with the revolving door of coaches, players lacking heart and passion and selfish veterans and so on and so forth.

In the event Cone is moved laterally to Ginebra, he won’t be the first person associated with Alaska’s title teams to move. In fact, one of Alaska’s lucky charms from those years, Cris Bolado, jumped ship and was a part of that Gins team that finally upended Alaska to win a title. If Bolado who at most was a bench player was “lucky” to give Ginebra a title then how much more with the Man who is known for transforming underachieving teams into championship squads?

I have seen Cone on many occasions inside the dugouts with his teams performing badly or during practice. He brooks no buffoonery and indolence. He will light a fire under this underachieving team. He will find a way to squeeze out the best of every single player. The catch phrases of “yesterday ended last night” and “together” will enter club lexicon just like those chants of “Gi-ne-bra! Gi-ne-bra!”

Further to that, the days of discards and cast-offs has long been over. Ever since that initial team that turned this former no-name club into the country’s most popular team with top draft picks like Aquino and Locsin and later on, Helterbrand and Caguioa to go with prized free agent signings like Rudy Hatfield, Eric Menk and company they have become close to a glamour team. 

The days of “this is you” will be replaced with “squeeze action,” “two post pass,” and “dribble hand-off” to name a few. 

You have to be prepared, Ginebra. When I spoke to a former Purefoods player, he told me that Cone’s practices are hard and when he transferred to another club, whatever they asked him to do paled in comparison.

You oft hear PBA players cite their win or success to “hard work” that it has become as ridiculous and expected from post-match interviews such as giving “credit to the boys.”

But Tim Cone is all about hard work.

Now if this comes to pass, then let the Ginebra revolution begin.


Other stories I have written about Tim Cone

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