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‘Multo’ ni Marlou nanariwa kay Cone

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TAONG 1997 pa huling naghari ang Ginebra sa PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Sa Cuneta Astrodome noon, inihatid ni player-coach Robert Jaworski ang Gins (Gordon’s Gin Boars pa noon) sa titulo sa anim na laro, huli ang 105-79 victory laban sa Alaska.

Ang kapigaan ng utak ng Living Legend noon, si Tim Cone sa Aces.

Higit dalawang dekada ang nakalipas, ilang kilometro mula Cuneta sa MOA Arena naman ay muling nagkampeon sa midseason conference ang Gins. Sa anim na laro rin kinuha ang titulo, inagawan ang defending champion San Miguel Beer, 4-2, pagkatapos ng 93-77 victory, Miyerkoles nang gabi.

Ang head coach na ng Ginebra, si Cone.

Makalipas ang 21 taon, itinaas ng Ginebra ang Commissioner’s Cup title, at inekisan ni Cone ang pang-21 niyang titulo bilang coach.

Tandang-tanda pa ni Cone ‘yun.

“Kevin Holland is my import, and that was Marlou’s (Aquino) rookie year, and Marlou just absolutely dominated that. We didn’t have any answers,” balik-tanaw ni Cone. “He guarded our import and shut our import down the whole time. Our import just couldn’t score. I remember that one very well.”

Si 6-foot-9 Aquino ang tinanghal na Finals MVP ng conference na ‘yun.

Nagulat pa raw si Cone nang ipaalala sa pre-finals conference noong July 24 na 1997 pa huling itinaas ng Gins ang Commish Cup trophy. Ginamit nila iyong motibasyon.

“I didn’t know it until someone mentioned it before the finals,” paliwanag ng two-time grand slam champion coach. “And we used it. We talked about it as a team, the first time in 21 years that our organization could win a championship here. Definitely a motivating factor, no doubt.”