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Cone hails ex-San Mig wards for Magnolia’s finals entry
Tim Cone speaks before the Big Dome crowd shortly after winning a title during San Mig Coffee's Grand Slam year | PBA File Photo
MANILA, Philippines — The waves of nostalgia off Magnolia’s PBA Philippine Cup semis-clinching win over NLEX kept on coming. And head coach Tim Cone made sure he’s the first one to ride it out.
After the Hotshots’ victory over Road Warriors on Tuesday night, the champion mentor took to his Twitter to congratulate his former wards.
Cone was the architect of the Purefoods franchise’s five titles in the early 2010s. The peak of his partnership with Hotshots' Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, Rafi Reavis, Ian Sangalang and Justin Melton was during the 2013-14 season where they won three straight conference titles, pulling off a “Grand Slam” that solidified his place among the tactician greats.
Only Cone, the late Baby Dalupan, Tommy Manotoc and Norman Black have notched the rare feat. The former was the only one to do it twice in the league’s 43 years.
Barroca, just as the game clock expired, was also one to wax emotional over the franchise return trip to the Finals.
Magnolia, since Cone’s departure, has never reached the finals. They came close during the 2017 season and were turned back thrice at the semifinals.
The Hotshots will have an uphill climb to the summit as they face the heavyweights and four-peat-seeking San Miguel Beermen in the skirmishes that begin on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.