While the pride of Marbel, South Cotabato was already an athletic marvel before he was taken by Alaska in a trade in the 90s, what with his deadly jumpers and great leaping ability, it was Cone who, like the great Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, masterfully guided Duremdes to become one of the greatest players of his era.
While Cone has won almost everything there is to win in the PBA, Duremdes is hoping that his former beloved mentor will achieve what he has long been cherished to win – an Asian Games gold.
“I wish coach Tim all the best, his mission is very tough but i knew him very well” said Duremdes, who was part of Cone’s PH squad – known as Centennial Team that saw action in the Bangkok edition of the quadrennial event.
Though Duremdes is pretty aware of the problems that beset the PH team, he is convinced that Cone still has the “itch” to redeem himself after team’s crushing defeat at the hands of the deadly Korean squad.
Even in one interview back in Manila, Cone, while he had earlier declined to handle the Gilas in a show of support for erstwhile coach Chot Reyes who was jeered and bashed to the max during the recent FIBA World Cup, admitted that 1998 has always been in his mind.
Duremdes readily agreed.
“Sayang talaga yun, hindi namin akalain na matalo kami ng Korea, Everybody was disappointed, especially coach Tim,” said Duremdes who played a key role in the team’s bronze medal win over Kazakhstan.
Duremdes recalled that they put more focus on beating the mighty Chinese during that time unmindful that the Korean team – loaded with lethal snipers apart from being quick and fast – were plotting to bury and annihilate them.
That defeat to the Koreans was one of the low points in Cone’s legendary career.
Still, Duremdes, now a commiossioner of the MPBL, is praying fervently for Cone’s success in the 19th edition of the Asian Games in the city known for its glamorous silk.
“Sana this time, maka finals sila,” said Duremdes.