Tim Cone likens Meralcoâs Durham to Bobby Parks
Ginebra coach Tim Cone (right), sees seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks (center) in Meralco's Allen Durham.

Tim Cone likens Meralco’s Durham to Bobby Parks

(Philstar.com) - October 18, 2016 - 3:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Winning 18 championships in the Philippine Basketball Association is almost shorthand for a “long time” in local hoops lore.

But being one of the four coaches who have pulled off a Grand Slam? Oh, and doing it twice? Let’s just say Tim Cone has seen it all.

And when he tried — and successfully — commandeered the league’s most popular team to the brink of a championship on Sunday night, he had one agenda: Stop Allen Durham.

Fortunately for Cone, he has seen someone like Durham play the game in the ‘90s — and beat him. The namesake of PBA’s Best Import Award, the late Bobby Ray Parks.

“[H]e reminds me a lot of Parks,” Cone said. “Bobby, you couldn't do anything to him. He saw everything throughout his career, and you couldn't bring anything new to him. So you just kept changing as much as you could until he couldn't get a hold of things.

“That’s basically what we're trying to do with Durham,” he added.

Parks — who succumbed to cancer in 2013 — and Cone met once in the PBA Finals. In the 1996 Commissioner’s Cup, the seven-time PBA best import reinforced the Formula Shell Zoom Masters against latter’s Alaska. It ended with the Milkmen winning their second straight championship.

Cone’s strategy was in full view Sunday night. The Gin Kings played like a team that has been thirsty for a championship for the past eight years. They couldn’t have scripted a better way to stamp a win: they held off an equally talented and deep Bolts side, outscoring them for the whole 48 minutes.

And Durham? He was relegated to the second worst showing of his post-season tour of duty with Meralco.

“We’ve been trying to throw things at Durham almost literally every game, something different. He's so good, he reads what's going on so well that if you stay with one thing, he's gonna eat you up,” Cone said of Durham, who also happens to be a recipient of the Bobby Parks Award.

“Our job this whole series is to try keep him unbalanced, to try keep him guessing what we're gonna do. We gotta show him different looks every time out. This is the first time we put doubles on him,” the Ginebra coach said.

But as far as chess matches go, Cone said it’s just a matter of time before Meralco tactician Norman Black understands the Ginebra scheme of things.

After all, Black is also a Grand Slam coach.

“In the finals, against really great teams — and you don't play anybody but a great team in the Finals. You don't play a lesser team, you play a great team. And there's no doubt Meralco's a great team,” Cone said.

“Coach Norman is gonna have [it] all figured out,” he said.

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