The stage is set for an exciting showdown in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as TNT and Barangay Ginebra battle it out for the Governors’ Cup championship.
But what makes this series extra special is the reunion of former mentor and apprentice, Tim Cone and Jojo Lastimosa, respectively.
Lastimosa, now the coach of TNT, will face off against his former boss who mentored him during Alaska’s dominant title run in the 90s.
Cone, who has an impressive record of 25 PBA titles, will try to add one more to his collection, while Lastimosa aims to secure his first crown as a coach in his debut conference.
The 59-year-old Lastimosa said, “‘I’m always comfortable being around Tim. I’m excited to be on the same floor with him. There’s so much respect. He’s done so much for the game, and I’m just here to learn and we’ll see how it goes.”
For his part, 65-year-old Cone said, “There’s going to be respect on both sides of the floor, but there’s going to be intense competition. His organization is really hungry for a win, and we know and understand that. They played like that all conference long.”
Despite their history together, the coaches are now on opposite sides, and the competition will be intense.
TNT, the top-seeded team, is the slight favorite after beating Ginebra 114-105 in their only conference encounter.
However, Ginebra is the defending champion and is coming off a successful title run during the Commissioner’s Cup.
But while the coaches have maintained their respect for each other, they’re ready to set it aside during the best-of-seven title series.
Lastimosa and Cone are excited to be on the same floor together and are looking forward to intense competition.
The PBA Board chairman and TNT governor, Ricky Vargas, believes that they’re the best team in the conference and won’t think of themselves as underdogs, while Ginebra counterpart Alfrancis Chua refused to be drawn into the matter.
Regardless, both coaches agree that the series will be good for both the league and basketball fans.
As the long holiday approaches, the players of TNT and Barangay Ginebra are not taking a break in their preparations for the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Despite the Holy Week, both teams are committed to staying in shape for the best-of-seven title series set to kick off on Easter Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coaches Tim Cone and Jojo Lastimosa emphasized the importance of staying sharp and focused during the break.
Even on Good Friday, the Kings and Tropang Giga will find a way to practice and prepare for the much-awaited showdown.
“We just want to stay sharp and it’s important how we practice,” said Lastimosa, hinting at the importance of keeping up with their routines.
Both teams have had an extended break since finishing their respective semifinal series.
The Kings swept the San Miguel Beermen in their best-of-five series last March 29, while the Tropang Giga followed suit two days after, eliminating the Meralco Bolts, 3-1.
As the excitement builds up for the Easter Sunday match, basketball fans are eagerly anticipating an explosive showdown between these two powerhouse teams.