01 September 2011

Cone, 3 Players Leaving Aces?

Tim Cone
Later today (1 September 2011), everyone will know whether Alaska Aces coach Tim Cone stay with the Uytengsu franchise or take a leave of absence. The question of whether current longest tenured coach in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will be leaving a team he steered to 13 championships in 22 years is expected to be discussed during a press conference called by team owner Fred Uytengsu Jr.

The rumors about Cone leaving swirled like a hurricane in the blogosphere these last few days, specifically after Cone did not show up during the briefing of the Aces for rookies Eric Salamat, Julius Pasculado and Ariel Mepana.

The main reason for Cone's decision is unclear, although there are bits and pieces here and there depending on who you are talking to. The most persistent one seems to be Cone’s dissatisfaction with the state of basketball affairs in the Alaska franchise, in particular, the lack of efforts on the part of management to strengthen the line-up in the midst of the continued build-up of the other PBA teams.

One blogger who refused to be named said that while teams like newly-crowned Governors’ Cup champion Petron Blaze, Barangay Ginebra and B-Meg of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), as well as Talk ’N Text and Meralco of Manny V. Pangilinan have been able to strengthen their rosters through trades, Alaska has not done anything similar.

Another reason appears to be that Cone was being groomed by the owners of San Miguel ball clubs to head one of their three teams in the league. It will be recalled that Cone was one of those initially rumoured being considered to head the B-Meg’s bench and replace rookie coach Jorge Gallent. The post was later filled up by Richard Del Rosario on an acting capacity pending his commitment with the College of St. Benilde.

Cone still has a live contract, and it will expire at the end of 2013 Season.

Also expected to be cleared are the status of point guard LA Tenorio, shooting guard Cyrus Baguio and center Sonny Thoss. The rumor mills churned out reports that the three Aces have become dissatisfied and greatly anxious following the departure of Joe Devance from the team and they were asking to be traded also.

Devance was traded last June 2011 to Air21 for JR Reyes after the former’s request for additional compensation was turned down by the management. Devance later ended with the B-Meg along with Marcy Arellano in exchange for KG Canaleta and Jondan Salvador. Before the trade, Devance is averaging 13.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for the Aces.

Tim Cone is finally leaving the Alaska Aces. Accompanied by the team's top officials led by Alaska Milk Corp. president and CEO Wilfred Uytengsu Jr., Cone formally announced his departure from the Alaska Aces in a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Makati City this afternoon (1 September 2011).

Rumors of Cone's departure from Alaska spread like wildfire over the Internet the past few days, with some reports citing the mentor's apparent disappointment over the squad's failure to boost its lineup heading into the next season.

"He wants to explore new horizons and challenges. I want to thank him for everything," Uytengsu said of his longtime tactician.

Replacing Cone is his trusted assistant Joel Banal, whose new contract will run for three years.

Cone denied reports that he will transfer to other squads.

"There're no offers yet (from any team). They're all rumors," he said.

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