Decorated coach Tim Cone is the epitome of a winner.
Already blessed with 21 PBA titles, including two Grand Slams, and a bronze medal in the 1998 Asian Games, he has earned the respect and admiration of local basketball pundits.
He was also chosen Coach of the Year thrice in his long and illustrious career, a testament to his hard work.
The past two months have added more content to the long list of his accomplishments - a gold in the Southeast Asian Games last December and another PBA Governors' Cup crown Friday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Before Barangay Ginebra advanced to the semifinals, and eventually the championship series, they were able to take advantage of training with Gilas Pilipinas.
"I mean, it was difficult in the fact that we had, you know, our whole team involved in Southeast Asian Games and we had to turn around and play the semifinals quick [vs NorthPort], but the break out to the semifinals kind of got us a chance to catch our breath and prepare better for the finals," said Cone in a lengthy post-game press conference.
He then added that playing for the country lifted the team's spirits, and their momentum from success carried over to a successful playoff run.
"Because the whole staff was there. The whole starting lineup basically was there," he added.
Following a successful stint with Alaska which bore 12 titles, he moved on to the Purefoods/BMeg franchise, which added five more to his trophy case.
He was already on the top in the list of the greatest coach in PBA history, but he admits moving to Ginebra in July 2015 presented a new challenge to conquer.
"No doubt about it. Coming to Ginebra really reinvigorated me as a coach, feeling all the tension from the fans and stuff. It keeps you going and keeps you moving. And no time slow down. No time to slow down so I'm enjoying it," mentioned the mentor.
Even though he has seen it all in his 30-year career as coach, Cone still relishes the opportunity to succeed.
"Well, winning never gets old. I think that's number one. I mean, to watch our guys get excited and to push hard for something, and then achieve it. And seeing, you know, being a part of that is and watching them, you know, really, really battled for it. There's no greater feeling than that."
With a third Governors' Cup title in the bag, Cone now sets his sights on a new challenge: end the five-year dominance of the San Miguel Beermen in the Philippine Cup.
"Well, we're certainly going to go for it. You know, we feel we have the tools," referring to star guard Stanley Pringle, who was acquired earlier this season. "With Stanley there as an anchor then Japeth and Greg, they kind of take a step back usually when the imports come, but now it's their time to step forward. I think we have some exciting rookies that are coming into the team. And I think will be a more complete All-Filipino team."
"We love Justin and and we always feel when Justin steps onto the floor we have a chance. But when you win it in all-Filipino, you are the best team.
"San Miguel has had an incredible monopoly on the All-Filipino in the last five years, and it's well-deserved. They are a special, special team. And obviously we are all trying. We all want to get that that All-Filipino championship. That's what they call the crown jewel of the three championships. Needless to say, we're going to be motivated.
"We hope that that we can use this conference to gain momentum into the All-Filipino. LA came up to me, he said, 'We gotta win the All-Filipino. I haven't won an All-Filipino yet.' I think he's gonna get everybody keyed up to win. We know it's going to be tough. There's gonna be a lot other teams to say about it. But, you know, we're going to go for it. "
Joe Devance's value
Cone has shared 10 of his 22 championships with one player: Joe Devance. And although the Ginebra forward's minutes went down in the Governors' Cup, he once again stepped up at a crucial juncture in Game 5.
Though his stats may look deceiving, a three-point, three-rebound output in eight minutes of action, his triple was game-changing. It increased Ginebra's lead to four during the team's 14-1 run to wrest the game away from Meralco.
"Joe came out played some really key minutes. I don't know if everybody noticed, but you know, he's been battling injury, this whole conference. And he's been kind of in and out of the lineup," explained Cone. "And I know he's not 100% but I felt at that moment we needed his leadership."
Even the stocky forward knew he was not going to get heavy minutes, but he knows if he gets his job done, which in this case, help lead his team to another title.
"It feels good but you know what, to be honest, last game I didn't even play. The game before that I played about four minutes. Today I played about 4-5 minutes. It feels really good though, to not do too much and then win a championship," Devance jokingly told reporters.
ESPN5's Eros Villanueva contributed to this report.