Old friends clash once again in PBA finals

TNT's Chot Reyes and B-Meg's Tim Cone shake hands before going to war. (Photo courtesy of the PBA)

Tim Cone and Chot Reyes, two of the winningest coaches in Philippine Basketball Association history, go head to head once again in a PBA finals series, and while the teams and players they coach have changed over the 18 years that they have battled, one thing remains constant: they still want to beat each other badly.

Cone's B-Meg Llamados and Reyes's Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters dispute the Commissioner's Cup title starting Monday, the sixth time the two will face each other on local pro basketball's biggest stage.

"Tim and I go a long way," said Reyes, who started his PBA career as Cone's assistant on the Alaska bench in 1990. "He has a different set of pieces now."

"I always want to go up against Chot," Cone said of his former apprentice whose Texters are the defending champions of this conference and have their sights set on a rare grand slam, something Cone achieved in 1996 with Alaska. In fact, that was the last team to have grand slammed, and if Reyes pulls off the trick this season, it would not only allow him to duplicate Cone's achievement, it will also help him move into the top three on the all-time list of coaches with the most championships in league history.

Right now the top three positions are occupied by the legendary Baby Dalupan (15 titles), Cone (13) and Norman Black (10), with Reyes in fourth spot with eight. Since Cone is just two off the all-time mark, this championship series is also important for him to further close in on Dalupan.

But climbing up the all-time list takes a back seat to the two coaches' friendly rivalry. They love coaching against each other, especially at the highest level, and their friendship in the cutthroat business of PBA coaching is unique.

When Cone was appointed coach of the national team in 1998, dubbed the Centennial Team and tasked to bring home the Asian Games gold, his first choice for assistant was Reyes. Normally that wouldn't have been a problem, except that at the time Reyes was executive director of the PBA's rival league Metropolitan Basketball Association. Cone stood by his decision, though, even when Reyes arrived very late for an exhibition match between the Philippines and China at the Araneta Coliseum after attending an out-of-town MBA game and running into a traffic jam on the way back. Together they guided the Philippines to a bronze medal.

In their head-to-head finals meetings, Reyes holds a 3-2 edge. He won their first duel way back in 1994, when he led Purefoods to a 4-1 Commissioner's Cup victory. Cone exacted revenge two years later with a similar 4-1 win in the All-Filipino Conference. The two didn't meet again in the finals until the 2002 AFC, where Reyes prevailed, this time as coach of the Coca-Cola Tigers, 3-1. A year later, it was Cone's turn, winning the Invitational Conference 2-1. In their most recent finals clash, Reyes led TNT to a thrilling 4-3 Philippine Cup win over Cone's Aces.

This title series is a little different, though, for it marks the first time Cone will be coaching a team other than Alaska in a PBA finals. And it's not just any other team; it's an SMC team, making this another potentially explosive SMC vs. MVP championship series.

The two probably wouldn't have it any other way.

E-mail: Twitter: @Sid_Ventura


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options