Seeing Luigi Trillo and Tim Cone shake hands one last time this conference was a nice gesture of sportsmanship following Alaska’s semifinals series-clinching 83-78 on Saturday at the Big Dome.
Trillo has been serving as one of Cone’s assistant coaches for more than 12 years. He has learned the coaching ropes from the former long-time Alaska mentor, who has given the Aces 13 PBA titles before joining the San Mig/B-Meg franchise at the start of last season.
The youthful Alaska mentor has actually lost six straight games to Cone, before stringing up three straight wins in the semis that dashed the Mixers’ title-retention bid for this conference.
“I thought we got better and we just keep playing better basketball. We’re happy but then, we need to take care of business in the Finals,” added a more cautious Trillo.
The Aces reached the PBA Finals for the first time since the 2010 Fiesta Conference, when Cone was still coaching the Uytengsu-owned franchise.
The celebration lasts for a day, said veteran Alaska center Sonny Thoss, but come Sunday, they are back to focusing on the task at hand, which is to win the Commissioner’s Cup title.