THE virtual special awards night of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Press Corps was successfully held on Sunday with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings coach Tim Cone leading the awardees.
Given by the media covering the local professional basketball league, the awards serve to recognize outstanding performers in various categories for each PBA season.
This year’s proceedings were a double celebration as recognized as well were awardees for 2019 who did not get their own awarding ceremony last year because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Cone steered the Kings to a historic Philippine Cup championship held under a first-ever “bubble” setup in Clark, Pampanga, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Coach of the Bubble award.
Through his stewardship, the Kings outlasted the competition in the three-month tournament, the lone staged by the league because of limitations presented by the pandemic.
It was the 13th title of the Kings in franchise history while it was the 23rd for Mr. Cone, and his fifth championship with Barangay Ginebra.
While he felt honored to be given the award, Mr. Cone also took time to praise fellow coach Topex Robinson of Phoenix Super LPG who the former felt did a good job as well during the bubble.
“Topex did a tremendous job in the bubble coaching. I just want to acknowledge him and share this award with him,” said Mr. Cone in his acceptance speech.
Mr. Robinson and the Fuel Masters had a great run in the bubble, coming within a win away of barging into their first-ever finals appearance.
Also feted was PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.
He was given the Mr. Executive Award in recognition of his leadership in steering the league in uncharted waters amid the pandemic en route to the successful staging of the bubble.
The Bubble President’s Award, meanwhile, was given to all the 12 PBA teams for their sacrifices and cooperation in ensuring the Philippine Cup bubble succeeded.
The other bubble awardees were Phoenix’s Justin Chua (Top Bubble D-Fender). He was joined in the All-Bubble D-Fenders by former teammate Calvin Abueva (now of Magnolia), Chris Ross (San Miguel), Mark Barroca (Magnolia), and Christian Standhardinger (formerly of NorthPort now of Barangay Ginebra).
Phoenix’s RJ Jazul was Mr. Quality Minutes, scoring champ was CJ Perez (formerly of Terrafirma and now with San Miguel), the Barangay Ginebra-Meralco Game 5 semis was Game of the Bubble, and Aaron Black (Meralco), Arvin Tolentino (Barangay Ginebra), Roosevelt Adams (Terrafirma), Barkley Ebona (Alaska), and Renzo Subido (NorthPort) made up the All-Rookie Team.
Meanwhile, Leo Austria, coach of San Miguel, led the honor roll for 2019 awardees as coach of the year.
Joining him are PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas (Executive of the Year), Bulakan, Bulacan Mayor and former league MVP Vergel Meneses (President’s Award), Sean Anthony (Defensive Player of the Year), Terrence Romeo (Mr. Quality Minutes), June Mar Fajardo (Order of Merit), and Mr. Perez (Scoring Champion).
The rest of the 2019 honorees are NorthPort vs. NLEX (Game of the Season); Mr. Perez, Robert Bolick, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., Javee Mocon, and Abu Tratter (All-Rookie Team); Kiefer Ravena, Mr. Standhardinger, Beau Belga, Vic Manuel, Arwind Santos, and coach Yeng Guiao (All-Interview Team); and PBA D-League Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena (Aspirants’ Cup) and Hesed Gabo (Foundation Cup). — Michael Angelo S. Murillo