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Cone dusts off Triangle Offense

The Triangle Offense — a system that made Tim Cone the winningest mentor in Philippine Basketball Association history — is now back in the playbook of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

Cone, who owns 24 PBA crowns, confirmed to Daily Tribune that they are now starting to integrate the Triangle concept as they intensify their chase for the Commissioner’s Cup title.

Originally designed by Tex Winter and successfully ran by Phil Jackson with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association, the Triangle was embraced by Cone when he erected a winning squad with Alaska and, later on, with the old Purefoods franchise and, now, with Ginebra.

Cone said he now has the right personnel to run the system to perfection.

“We’re doing more Triangle concepts now. We’ve gone through it now a little because Christian (Standhardinger) is a very good Triangle center,” Cone told Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview.

“We also have Jaime (Malonzo) and Jeremiah (Gray) who bring athleticism to the offense. It’s more of having equal opportunities. Everybody is getting touches. That’s the idea. We want to get back to making more passes and creating more assists for everybody. We’re not totally fully back, but we’re getting more than we’re used to.”

Cone adopted the Triangle during the height of the Bulls’ multiple title runs in the early 1990s.

He, however, didn’t reap its rewards until 1995 when Alaska got over the hump that was Sunkist en route to winning the 1996 grand slam.

From 1995 Third Conference until the 1996 season, Cone’s Triangle had been the toast of the league, leading to a rare triple crown starring Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa and Bong Hawkins, Poch Juinio and Jeffrey Cariaso.

When Alaska lost Cariaso to Mobiline, the Milkmen worked on a trade to get Kenneth Duremdes, who eventually became the squad’s most dominant scorer.

From the 1997 Third Conference to the 1998 Commissioner’s Cup, Alaska won three straight titles, capped by a Most Valuable Player award for Duremdes, who along with Abarrientos and Lastimosa joined Cone and brought the Triangle to the Philippine Centennial Team that gave the country a bronze medal in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok.

When Cone left Alaska to move to the Purefoods franchise, he implemented the system featuring players like James Yap, PJ Simon, Marc Pingris and Mark Barroca, giving the noted American mentor his second grand slam while surpassing the great Baby Dalupan in league record books.

Cone brought his winning ways to Ginebra and so far, he had collected six championships.

A big part of that success was also the players’ willingness to embrace the Triangle with players like LA Tenorio and Joe Devance as spearheads.

Cone believes it is high time for the Kings to revert to his pet offense now that they have the manpower to implement the system.

“In the beginning, they’re a little bit hesitant to get back to it, but they’re starting to see the results in practice and they saw how the ball was moving, how everybody is getting involved. It wasn’t an easy buy in,” Cone said.

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