‘It’s an honor to play on Christmas Day’, says Tim Cone

Tim Cone acknowledges that playing on Christmas Day is not favored by anyone.

However, the Brgy. Ginebra head coach emphasized that being chosen to participate and provide PBA fans with a festive experience is regarded as a prestigious privilege.

“I don’t think anybody really likes playing on Christmas Day, but we also recognize it as an honor to play on Christmas Day,” said Cone whose team will facing TNT in the main event of the league’s Christmas offering for the fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

According to the American mentor, he has had a conversation with Erik Spoelstra, the Filipino-American coach of the Miami Heat, who has also experienced playing games on Christmas Day in the NBA in the past few years.

“I also talked to Erik Spoelstra and they have to play on Christmas Day. None of their players like to play on Christmas Day, but again, in the NBA it’s an honor to play. You’re on prime time throughout so it’s always a huge match,” explained the 66-year-old Cone.

Cone, who holds the record for the most titles by a coach in the league at 25, stressed that it is always difficult to play on Christmas Day due to the unique way Filipinos celebrate, including gift-giving, Christmas parties, and the traditional Noche Buena feast on Christmas Eve.

Nevertheless, amiable mentor acknowledges that it is the responsibility of coaches to handle the task of ensuring player concentration despite the numerous distractions that come with the Holiday season.

“We’re honored to play TNT. It’s a difficult game because of all the distractions that go on, the preparation, and there are so many (things) going on with the families,” he said. “It’s hard to focus but it’s really up to us to get through it. We have to understand how important this game is in the standings.”

Cone further mentioned that every game is approached with a sense of urgency, considering their team’s record of 5-3 leading up to the match.

“Every game from hereon is almost a do-or-die game so that’s crucial for a conference like this,” said Cone. “The twice to beat advantage is really a huge advantage,” he said. “We have to understand how important this game is on Monday.”

Brgy. Ginebra dominated the Bay Area Dragons 96-81 in Game 1 of the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Christmas Day, giving their legions of fans a big treat with the victory over the visiting squad. The triumph at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay kicked off the championship series before an enthusiastic crowd of over 18,000.

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