Mendoza: Despite flak, Cone comes out big shot

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Friday, July 11, 2014

THE minute San Mig Coffee entered the semifinals, I knew immediately it would complete its magical Grand Slam odyssey. This belief was cemented all the more when SMC chose San Miguel Beer for a quarterfinal foe.

Cone “threw away” a game to ensure an SMC-SMB quarterfinal match, drawing the flak of his life.

What the hell happened to Cone?


Why did he choose to oust a sister team (SMB) over a former team (Alaska)?

Remember, Alaska was Cone’s team for 23 years from 1989 to 2012 before moving to SMC two years ago.

Old flame rekindled?

First love never dies?

Whatever, it was a much-criticized decision and not a few called Cone the cruelest
coach in town.

He elected to bash a sister over one that he had left crying in the rain—considering that Cone and Steven Uytengsu, the Alaska owner, are childhood friends.

That he still cared, valued his broken boyhood bonds with Uytengsu?

Anytime at all, that was a cheap shot at making up for a not-so-simple misdeed. Their shattered shield of decades-old friendship has virtually become beyond repair.

So, as things went, San Mig Coffee easily dispatched a badly-coached San Miguel Beer before it booted out with finesse dangerous Talk ’N Text in the semifinals.

Once San Mig Coffee got to the Finals as I had expected, I knew that the league’s fifth Grand Slam had been safely secured by Cone.

Never mind that Rain or Shine had lived up to its billing as the PBA’s most stubborn team for years now, forcing a 2-2 deadlock to forge a winner-take-all Game 5 for the PBA Governors’ Cup.

You know how the PBA works. It thrives on drama and trauma, if not surreal at times.

It won’t last 38 years if it hasn’t mastered the art of the possible. This 39th season is no exception.

And so, although San Mig Coffee, winning the year’s first two conference with relative ease, was bound to xerox the Grand Slams of Crispa in 1976 and 1983, San Miguel Beer in 1989 and Alaska in 1996, Cone splashed it with a dash of drama, resulting to a virtually maneuvered Game 5—if you know what I mean.

Thus, when SMC led RoS by 16 points in the Finals decider, it was over but the shouting, so to speak. Cone’s conmen refused a blowout, accounting for that “close” 92-89 final count.

Nice job at sanitizing the obvious.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 12, 2014.


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