Ginebra coach Tim Cone has one thing that he must accomplish to come full circle as a “Filipino” at heart.
His old classmates and their families in Baler, Aurora have embraced Cone as one of their own when the accomplished American coach stayed in the northern province during his childhood as his father worked at a logging company.
The interesting photo of Cone with his classmates at Baler Central School in 1967 was posted on the social media page of Batang Baler and many of his classmates posted comments, reminiscing the days of his stay in the province.
“Iyan si Tim Cone naglalakad din iyan nong araw nagdi-dribble ng bola pauwi sa logpond nila sa Castillo. Kung minsan nakasakay sa pickup (truck) nila together with sister Julie,” recalled Claro Gonzales.
Mervin Rubio recognized their teacher (beside Cone) and even asked if he ever included Cone in the farm work, which was part of the industrial arts subject in public elementary school. “Ang tikas pala ni Mr. Custodio (teacher, beside Cone in photo) noon pa, pinag gamas din kaya si Tim Cone.”
“Very humble talaga si uncle Erning (teacher). ‘Di man lang nya nabanggit samin na mga pamangkin nya na naging estudyante nya pla si coach Tim,” said Rowel Magpantay.
Cone was born in the United States before moving to the Philippines when he was nine years old with his family, as his father was employed at a logging company in Baler. He stayed there briefly before going to Manila, where he transferred to an International School.
They headed back home to the US and after finishing college, Cone went back to the Philippines at the age of 24 and eventually got a coaching job with Alaska.
The rest was history as he won 25 titles. including two grand slams in the PBA. He also mentored the national teams in the 1998 Asian Games and the 1998 Jones Cup.
“Kaya pala maraming Ginebra dito sa Baler,” joked Kristofe Lozur Acipap.
But kidding aside, Baler folks have embraced Cone as one of their own, and would make them very happy if the multi-titled basketball coach, who is married to a Filipina, visits Baler and reconnects with his schoolmates.
“Sana naman makaalala (Cone),” said Vincent Dugenia.