AT THE END of the formal press conference for the PBA Governors’ Cup finals on Monday, coaches Tim Cone of Barangay Ginebra and Jojo Lastimosa of TNT proceeded to one area of the Novotel Ballroom.
The opposing mentors, good friends since their successful collaboration with Alaska in the 1990s, stood side by side not just for the customary photo ops but to actually field reporters’ questions together.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to an opposing coach (in the finals) before in my career,” Mr. Cone noted.
“Jojo’s the closest guy I’ve been with another coach and the history is long and intense. It’s a really close relationship and that always makes it difficult. It’s going to be hard to get mad at Jojo for anything he might do in the game. Everything you do is going to be bittersweet. But we both got jobs to do and we’re going to do it to the best of our abilities.”
Mr. Lastimosa said going up against Mr. Cone has a “homecoming” feel.
“This is like coming home. I’m always comfortable being around Tim (Cone)…I’m excited to be on the same floor with him. There’s so much respect; he’s done so much for the game and I‘m just here to learn and we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
Friendship, of course, will take a backseat when the first shot in the best-of-seven series presented by Arena Plus is fired on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“There’s going to be respect on both sides of the floor but there’s going to be really intense competition, And his organization (TNT) really is hungry for a win and we know and understand that; they played like that all conference long,” said Mr. Cone.
“But there’s no doubt there’s going to be hunger in our team (too). I think once you taste it, you want more of it and the hunger pains just grow. So I think our guys are ready and their guys are ready, so it’s going to be a great series on many levels.”
Ginebra is going for a three-peat in the Governors’ Cup…
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