Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone believes that facing the San Miguel Beermen in the Commissioner's Cup finals is the Gin Kings' chance to prove themselves.
In his almost three decades of coaching in the PBA, Cone has witnessed several powerhouse teams compete, including his own Alaska and Purefoods squads that achieved Grand Slam feats. But the winningest coach in league history still had no qualms about hailing the current San Miguel team as the greatest of all time.
"If someone had to really hold me down, pin me down, I would say they are the greatest team of all time," he said. "I don't think anybody has been consistently, conference to conference, dominant like San Miguel. They've been really, truly remarkable and they fill out every position."
Cone acknowledged that there are many notable teams that have a legitimate claim to the 'greatest of all time' distinction. He mentioned some of the early league favorites like Crispa, Toyota, and the old San Miguel team that Norman Black, Hector Palma, and Mon Fernandez steered to a Grand Slam. But he still thinks the June Mar Fajardo-led Beermen have earned the right to at least be mentioned in the same breath as those legendary squads.
"It's hard to compare in different eras. But no doubt, right now, in our time right now, they are the best team," said Cone.
With this in mind, the Kings welcome the tough challenge of trying to snatch away the title from San Miguel, which won six of the last ten PBA championships. By dethroning the defending champions, they want to prove that they can match up with the best of the best.
"We're trying to get there. I think we have the potential to be there but until we prove it, they are the guys," shared Cone. "That's why we're excited to play them. It's our chance to prove how good we can be. They've proven it already, multiple times."
Cone believes they have the personnel to counter San Miguel's weapons but they need to exhibit great poise and confidence throughout the best-of-seven series to have a real fighting chance.
"I think San Miguel has the edge in experience and confidence and knowing what it takes to win at this level. But I think we match up to them on a man-for-man basis very well," he said. "I think it will really come down to poise and confidence. We're going to have to be a confident group out there and use our poise to make big plays. If we can do that, I think we can match up. Easier said than done."