It has been 4 months since coach Tim Cone left Star and moved over to Barangay Ginebra in a stunning development within the San Miguel Corporation-owned PBA teams.
Cone’s absence left a gaping hole for the team, specifically for Star’s veteran forward Marc Pingris as he admitted missing the American coach, who he considers his 2nd father.
“Malaki ang naging epekto sa laro ko nung nawala si coach Tim kasi siya dati ang kumakausap sa akin na ganun ang gawin mo or ganito, saka nagwa-one on one (talk) kami minsan bago kami mag-practice,” Pingris said, whose team faces Rain or Shine on Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The many-time member of the PBA All-Defensive team said he has developed a special bond with the league’s all-time winning coach during the latter’s 4-year coaching stint with the Purefoods franchise.
Cone may at times rebuke him when he veers away from his trademark triangle offense, but it’s moments like those that he truly misses.
“Kailangan ko din yung nagga-guide sa akin, yung hindi lang ako ang nagga-guide sa mga teammates ko,” he said.
“Nami-miss ko din yung mga ganun kasi kay (former Purefoods) coach Ryan (Gregorio) dati, ganun dun ang nangyari sa akin. Eh hindi ko naman sinasabing di ako kinakausap ni coach Jason, pero iba lang si coach Tim, konting pagkakamali ko lang talaga, parang sinasabi niya sa akin na back to basic, simula ka lang sa ganito,” explained Pingris, nicknamed “Pinoy Sakuragi.”
Star opened the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a stinging 90-86 loss to Meralco, in a game that saw the Hotshots waste a 14-point advantage in the 1st half.
Pingris admitted that it will take more than just former Best Import Denzel Bowles’s efforts to lead the Hotshots back to elite status in the league.
“Kailangan naming tulungan si coach Jason (Webb),” he said.
“Di ko sinasabing di siya magaling or wala siyang experience. Maganda naman ang tinuturo niya sa amin pero nasa aming mga players na rin kung susundin namin siya,” added Pingris. — By Richard Dy