Winning Is Everything – Tim Cone

San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone said winning is basically the most important thing for a coach to keep his job - be it in the collegiate, amateur or in the professional level.

"The only control we have as coaches is to prepare the team. Other than that, everything is up to management," Cone told the Bulletin yesterday when asked about his reaction after San Mig's sister team at San Miguel Corporation (SMC) - Barangay Ginebra - appointed team consultant Alfrancis Chua to head coach to replace Siot Tanquingcen who was demoted to assistant coach.

"That is actually the life of a coach. As coaches, we just have to keep performing well, keep the team winning," said Cone, whose team is down 2-3 in the best-of-seven semifinal series to Rain or Shine in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.

Rotating its staff of coaches is something that is not alien to San Miguel. Over the years coaches and assistant coaches are promoted and demoted like a merry-round.

For instance, Tanquingcen was replaced by Renato Agustin two seasons ago when San Miguel Beer failed to make the playoffs of the Commissioner's Cup.

Agustin powered Petron Blaze to the Governors' Cup title in 2011 during his rookie year, but when the Boosters struggled during the Commissioner's Cup and Governors' Cup last season, management fired him and put in his place former SMB player Olsen Racela as head coach.

In 2006, Jong Uichico was sent by the SMC top brass to Ginebra after nearly seven years and six championships with SMB to replace Tanquingcen, who was relegated to assistant coach after winning two titles with the Gin Kings in 2004-05.

SMC management moved Tanquingcen to SMB in 2006 when Chot Reyes left the team to coach the SMC-backed national team. He guided San Miguel to the Fiesta Cup title in 2009, but when Agustin was installed as coach of Petron (SMB), he was sent back to Ginebra as assistant coach to Uichico.

Tanquingcen was again promoted to head coach of Ginebra, and Uichico was moved down to assistant coach in early 2011. That was too much for Uichico who decided to join Meralco, a team owned by Manny V. Pangilinan, as assistant coach to Ryan Gregorio, who, incidentally, coached Purefoods for at least eight seasons before resigning in 2010.

Asked if his contract assures him of continued employment, Cone did not answer the question, although he said: "This is not something for me to decide, this is actually up to the management. If we look at the history of coaching, coaches come and go."

"I'm just fortunate to be with (former team) Alaska for 22 years," said Cone, who coached Alaska from 1989 to 2011 before joining SMC as B-Meg coach.

He quickly made an impression. He guided B-Meg to the Commissioner's Cup title last season.