Leo Austria and Tim Cone are locked in a head-to-head battle for the 2019 Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan Coach of the Year award to be bestowed by the PBA Press Corps in its Annual Awards Night set March 16 at the Novotel Manila in Araneta City.
Cone and Austria accounted for the three championships at stake in Season 44 last year to contend for the highest honor handed out by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat and named after the late great ‘Maestro’ of Philippine basketball.
Austria steered San Miguel to a record fifth straight Philippine Cup championship and then added the Commissioner’s Cup crown later to have the Beermen in line of completing a season sweep.
But Cone and the Kings foiled San Miguel’s grand slam bid by ruling the Governors’ Cup, staking their dominance of the season-ending meet by winning it for the third time in the last four years.
In between their championship campaign, Cone also coached Gilas Pilipinas to the basketball gold of the 30th Southeast Asian Games behind a team composed of the core of Barangay Ginebra.
Ironically, both Cone and Austria had been named Coach of the Year three times.
Cone won the award in 1994, 1996, and 2014, while Austria clinched the honor thrice in a row from 2015-2017 to become the first coach to keep the perpetual Dalupan trophy following the special feat.
The Danny Floro Executive of the Year and other regular awards will also be conferred during the 26th year celebration of the awards night presented by Cignal TV.
For the second straight year, the PBAPC is giving out a President’s Award, along with the Defensive Player of the Year, Mr. Quality Minutes, All-Rookie Team, and Order of Merit, which is given to the one who earned the most number of Player of the Week honor last season.
Completing the honor roll list are the Scoring Champion, All-Interview Team, Game of the Season, and the PBA D-League Finals MVP.