TIM Cone added another feather in his cap upon becoming the first coach in PBA history to notch 1,000 career victories.
Cone, 64, achieved the milestone after Barangay Ginebra clobbered Blackwater, 98-84, as the Kings further pushed their bid to finish within the Top 2 by the end of the Commissioner's Cup eliminations.
The champion coach was grateful for the honor and can't help but briefly looked back at his journey in the league which saw him took over the coaching job at Alaska in 1989 at a young age of 31.
"I've been around for a long time. You have to be around a long time to get that kind of record," said Cone, the second most senior among current PBA coaches next to Norman Black of Meralco.
Cone was honored for the feat at halftime of the Ginebra-TNT match Sunday before a crowd of more than 8,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
He was given a specially-crafted plaque with a designed basketball and the PBA logo by commissioner Willie Marcial, who was joined at midcourt by Ginebra governor and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) sports director Alfrancis Chua and Converge governor Atty. Chito Salud.
"I appreciate the recognition, obviously," said Cone. "It's a great achievement, and I wouldn't be here if I didn't win championships along the way."
Championships also came in aplenty for Cone, owner of a total of 24 titles - the most by any coaches in the annals of the league - won in his stay with Alaska, the Purefoods franchise, and Barangay Ginebra.
Cone is the only coach to win two grand slam - one with Alaska in 1996 and with San Mig Coffee in 2014.
He's now in his 33rd straight year of coaching in the league and eyeing to win more games and championships.
"It means I'm obviously doing something right, but it also means I'm an old man, or getting towards being an old man," said Cone.
By the end of the game, the Ginebra coach officially made it 1,001 wins as the Kings survived an import-less Tropang Giga, 89-85. (RG)