TIM Cone sees veteran Mark Caguioa as a special person and a great teammate, qualities which allowed the Barangay Ginebra guard to stay for 18 long seasons in the PBA.
"You have to be a special player to be able to last 18 seasons. You really, do," said Cone of Caguioa.
You have to have a great attitude, because you may not be playing as much but you still have to come to practice and do the work and put it in, challenge your teammates, and do stuff like that. And I think most of all, you have to be a good teammate. And he's all those things."
Cone paid tribute to his most senior player at Ginebra after the 40-year-old Caguioa achieved a milestone by becoming the player with the longest stint in a single franchise at 18 years.
The 2012 MVP was the league's no. 3 overall pick in the 2001 draft and he officially began his 18th season with the Ginebra franchise when he played his first game in the Philippine Cup bubble in a 105-91 win over Meralco Bolts at the Smart 5G-powered Angeles University Foundation gym.
Caguioa played for only six minutes and finished with two points, but achieved the milestone nonetheless, surpassing the previous record of 17 seasons held by Harvey Carey with TnT Tropang Giga and four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio with Purefoods.
Cone said he's not actually aware about the record until he was told after the game.
But the multi-titled coach stressed there's no other player deserving of the feat than Caguioa.
"Mark is a special guy, and only a special guy does special things," said Cone. "That's a record, and that's a testament to his character, playing ability, and his ability to be a great teammate." (RG)