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Cone's decision surprises Black, 2 others

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Tim Cone's decision to leave Alaska after 22 years surprised many Philippine basketball luminaries, including Ateneo de Manila University coach Norman Black.

"Maybe he thinks that it's time to move on," Black said upon hearing news of Cone being released by the Aces.

Black's and Cone's coaching careers in the PBA have run parallel since the 1980s.

Black coached in the PBA from 1985 to 2002, including 11 years with San Miguel. Alaska hired Cone in 1989, the year Black won a Grand Slam with the Beermen. Cone's Grand Slam followed in 1996, Black's final year with San Miguel.

Mobiline then hired Black in 1997 and coached two more teams in the PBA—Pop Cola and Sta. Lucia—before Ateneo tapped him to coach in the collegiate team.

"It was hard to leave San Miguel also when I did leave. But at the same time, you just have to move on and maybe he (Cone) felt like it was time to move on," said Black.

Despite leaving Alaska, there are rumors swirling that Cone will be back in the PBA on another team and Black, who also sits as Talk 'N Text's consultant in the PBA, believes that will happen sooner or later.

"Maybe he has a better offer. Whenever you leave something, somebody must be there," Black added.

For former La Salle Green Archer Jason Webb, basketball fans should appreciate Cone's decision to stay for 22 years with the Aces.

"Twenty-two years of marriage to one team is unheard of in this day and age and also thank him for reshaping basketball," said Webb of Cone, who pioneered the triangle offense in the PBA.

Eric Reyes, who played for Cone and Alaska from the 2001 to 2002 seasons, said that Cone's decision is a "leap into the unknown."

"It is unusual for a player or coach to opt out of a live contract without a new team securing his services unless he plans to retire," said Reyes - Reuben Terrado/JVP, GMA News
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