Tim Cone admits seeing flashes of Johnny Abarrientos in Kent Salado

Kent Salado made the most of his quality minutes in Brgy. Ginebra’s 108-82 lopsided win against the NorthPort Batang Pier that even Gin Kings coach Tim Cone did not forget to take notice.

“Kent got some real meaningful minutes tonight,” bared Cone on the former second round pick and 22nd overall draftee back in the 2019 PBA draft.

Salado, an Arellano University alumna, had seven points under 14 minutes of action and was doing the intangibles in the crowd darlings’ coast-to-coast win especially in the second period of the game.

“That’s the key. He can get minutes but he had meaningful minutes in terms of taking over for LA [Tenorio], guarding [Robert] Bolick for a while. He does like seven straight points at one point. Kinda changed the tempo of the game,” Cone said.

“That’s the things we are expecting of him. He has been hard to hold off. He is the one that forced his way into the lineup because of all the things he does day in and day out,” the multi-titled tactician added.

Cone even started to reminisce about the stature and play of the 5-foot-9 Salado to former Alaska great Johnny Abarrientos but was quick to point out the difference in the magnitude of their play.

“I don’t want to put this pressure on him because it’s medyo malayo. He has little characteristics of Johnny Abarrientos. Just characteristics that when I look at him and I see the way he runs or when he gets a steal and does a pull-up jumper of his, it just brings back memories of Johnny a little bit.”

“They’re still far apart. Johnny is obviously a Hall of Famer, and in my mind, the best point guard in the PBA ever. It’s hard to compare everybody with him. He has certain characteristics that remind me of Johnny,” Cone clarified.

However, the multiple grand slam coach lauded Salado’s efforts not only in games but also in practices as Ginebra could face a long stretch without injured star guard Stanley Pringle.

“I guess the word is irrepressible for him. You can’t ignore him. He makes something happen every time he is on the court whether it be in practice or practice games or a real game, he is always instigating something,” he said.

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