By TITO S. TALAO
Manila, Philippines – Watch out, Crispa Redmanizers!
Tim Cone isn’t in any way looking beyond the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals where San Mig Super Coffee seeks the Grand Slam against Rain or Shine in a best-of-5 series starting today.
But if they do – and that’s a big IF – which would mean a three-conference sweep of the 39th PBA season and a fourth straight championship from last year, Cone, lined up to become the league’s only two-time Grand Slam champion coach if they get past Yeng Guiao and the Elasto Painters, already has a loftier goal in mind for the Mixers to shoot for next year: the record six straight championships of the legendary Crispa Redmanizers from 1975 to 1977.
The 37-year-old mark, put together under the stewardship of the great Baby Dalupan, has withstood the test of time and initially perceived to be unbreakable.
In its maiden season in 1975, the PBA saw the Toyota Super Corollas capture the first two conferences before getting denied a third title by the Redmanizers, who went on to sweep the next three legs of the 1976 season – all against Toyota – to record the league’s first Grand Slam.
The Danny Floro franchise didn’t stop there, winning a fifth straight championship against Mariwasa in 1977 and a sixth consecutive versus U-Tex. The Redmanizers finished third in the third conference in narrowly missing a second Grand Slam, an unfinished business they ultimately completed in 1983 with Tommy Manotoc and Billy Ray Bates.
All this accomplishment, apparently, isn’t loss on Cone, who has already dislodged Dalupan, his idol, as the winningest coach in the PBA with 17 titles.
“If we happen to win this series,” he said, putting stress on ‘if’ during yesterday’s PBA Finals press conference at Sambokojin Grille in Eastwood City, “I don’t think that should be the end to us. There’s always something to reach for. Crispa won six conferences in a row. It would be nice to challenge Crispa and go beyond that. It’s a record that would be tough to match at some point. That’s the challenge for us.”
Cone spoke of the possibility of going after Crispa’s long-standing record in the perspective of being growth-oriented rather than being goal-oriented, a concept he learned from an American author and “leadership guru” named John Maxwell.
“You want to grow as a coach and as a person,” Cone said. “I’d like to think that we’re better as a team now than when we played Rain or Shine in the All-Filipino (two conferences ago) because we tried to continue to grow. If you’re goal-oriented, once you reach your objective, then it’s finished, tapos na. But when you’re growth-oriented, you try to go to the level and the next; you try to get better.”
The next level for Cone and the Mixers, who have four straight titles in the bag, would be to beat the E-Painters in the Finals and complete a Grand Slam. After that, the assault of a nearly four-decade-old feat can begin.
But only after Rain or Shine falls. Until then, Crispa’s revered record is safe for now.