Mixers have perfect blend for success

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Just three years after acquiring coach Tim Cone from his former team, San Mig Coffee got it all – a first third conference crown in over a decade, a first ever back-to-back title run, a first ever hat trick, the longest reign in the league in 13 years.

Cone and his brave bunch of Mixers, minus a real dominant import and a real local standout, have proved to be the best team of their times, and probably among the best of all time with a “three-peat feat” capped by their conquest of Talk n Text, 100-91, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finale Thursday night at the Philsports Arena.

They have proved themselves time and time again.

But by winning the Commissioner’s Cup crown over the Tropang Texters, the Mixers have got one compelling reason not to stop now.

They have scored a grand slam in reverse. In the Governors Cup that opens tomorrow, the Mixers have a shot at a real grand slam or a season sweep.

It’s a rare feat seen in the long history of the PBA – just four times – as done by Crispa (1976 and 1983), San Miguel Beer (1989) and Alaska Milk (1996).

“Obviously, this gives us the opportunity (to go for it). The good news for us is we have got Marqus (Blakely) back. We all know how good Marqus is,” said Cone.

One would cringe looking at the schedule the Mixers will go through. In fact, they will be back in action right on Wednesday to start their third-conference campaign against the Barako Bull Energy.

“It’s unfathomable for me to even think that we have a game in five days. I can’t even think what a team we’ll be like against Barako,” said Cone.

The brilliant American coach, the league’s winningest with 17 crowns, insisted though that they will not complain or make their tiring Commissioner’s Cup run as an excuse for the Governors Cup.

“I don’t want our guys complaining about the sked or how tired they are. We’ll keep pushing and see what we can do,” said Cone.

“We’ll focus on things that we have control of – sticking to our game plan and discipline on what we want to do. Hopefully, we can continue to do that through the next conference,” Cone said.

“We’re gonna try to lean on the energy of Marqus and (the comebacking) Allein Maliksi, and see what we can do. We’ll try to get ourselves ride at some point of the conference, and see if we can make a run out of it,” Cone added.

Apparently, Blakely had challenged James Mays to win the Commissioner’s Cup crown for the Mixers, then he himself would deliver the grand slam in the Governors Cup.

Mays responded, and it’s now up to Blakely to make good his promise.

But with or without the grand slam, James Yap and his teammates have got a special achievement that can never be taken away from them.

“The work to get into this is really astounding. It starts from long ago, building on trust and building on the desire to be a little different and little special. I think that’s the players really look at – the idea of doing what other teams have not done before,” said Cone.

For the record, no PBA team had made three straight title runs since San Miguel Beer did the trick in 2000-2001. Others with same achievement were Crispa in their two grand slams, Great Taste (1984-85), San Miguel Beer in its own grand slam and Alaska Milk (1996 and 1997-98).

“The players take a lot of pride at that and certainly I do as well,” said Cone, also the author of the Aces’ trebles.

“When I came to this organization, I remember the first thing I said to (San Mig/Purefoods president) Mr. (Butch) Alejo was ‘this is not about winning one championship. I’m not concerned about winning one. To me it’s about winning multiple championships. That’s what makes a great organization,’” Cone  said.













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