Kings coaches Cone, Del Rosario say accountability, adaptability make better leaders and better teams

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The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is facing its sternest test yet and even with individual practices pushing on with the expectation of a suspended season’s resumption, there is still a lot of work to be done for the league to survive its latest adversity.

As the coach with the most number of PBA championships, Tim Cone is familiar with adversity. And he knows how to deal with it by now: Be accountable and prepare the team for whatever obstacles may come its way.

“As a coach, I am accountable for all that happens in my team,” Cone said in a webinar put together by Manulife Philippines on Wednesday. ”My role is to make sure that I am clear about our goals and help my players build habits to achieve these.”

The Kings have already started getting individual workouts in and are among the favored squads to topple the San Miguel Beer dynasty in the Philippine Cup.

And they have to deal with much more adversity than just the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered local sports leagues for more than five months now.

Barangay Ginebra will return to action minus a vital cog in Greg Slaughter, who is still estranged from the squad.

But Cone knows the Kings will find a way. After all, the “never say die” spirit is very much the basic makeup of the Ginebra DNA.

“Leaders need to learn how to encourage themselves and the people around them to stay motivated, be consistent,” said Cone, who has claimed two rare Grand Slam seasons.

Cone and chief assistant Richard del Rosario, who was also at the webinar, do what they can to keep that indomitable Ginebra spirit burning from a coaching and leadership standpoint.

“You don’t dwell on emptiness. You don’t dwell on the setbacks,” Del Rosario said. “Allow yourself to be porous—to let new ideas fill [yourself].”

“You’d think you have the best game plan approaching a game. You’d prepare for eventualities but something will always come up during the game itself—an injury, a foul trouble. It’s the same thing with this pandemic,” he added in response to an Inquirer question.

Sure, Slaughter’s sudden departure from the team may have caught the team by surprise. But that is no different from what the team faces game in and game out during a season.

“We do a lot of adjustments within the game for our team. Sometimes we do things we haven’t practiced. But you know, we adjust and we adopt,” Del Rosario said.

The Kings still have a wealth of talent at their disposal, with veteran LA Tenorio leading a group that includes Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar.

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