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Tim Cone on late triangle offense inventor Tex Winter: "He really impacted my life"

Tex Winter found huge success in college and pro basketball with his triangle offense, inspiring Tim Cone to bring the said system to the Philippines also to a positive result.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Many Filipino basketball fans may have got a lot of knowledge about the triangle offense from Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.

But most, if not all, of the principles Cone is using in his triangle offense system are patterned after the original triangle system instilled by Tex Winter.

That is why the multi-titled Philippine Basketball Association coach was saddened a lot about the passing of Winter.

"I'm crushed after hearing the passing of Tex Winter," Cone said on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Winter, the man behind the offensive system formerly known as the triple-post, passed away at the age of 96 in Manhattan, Kansas, USA.

Winter began carving a career in basketball head coaching with Marquette in 1952.

He then moved to Kansas State, where he was once its assistant coach, in 1954, and he became the school's most successful coach in terms of championships in the former Big Eight Conference, now known as the Big 12, with eight.

He then entered the National Basketball Association in 1971 as the Houston Rockets' head coach, but his huge success in the pros came when he served as Phil Jackson's assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Winter joining Jackson at the helm, the Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, won six NBA titles in eight years divided into two three-peats from 1991-1998, and the Lakers, with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal headlining the squad, won a three-peat of their own from 2000-2002.

Winter was also Jackson's consultant with the Lakers when they won back-to-back titles behind Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Metta World Peace in 2009 and 2010.

The success of the triangle offense under Jackson and Winter inspired Cone to bring the said system into the Philippine basketball scene, leading to a grand slam by Alaska and Magnolia and Ginebra's modern-day success.

"[I] never understood why he would allow a coach like me to hang out and learn from him, but, wow, he really impacted my life," Cone, who was actually offered by Winter to join the Lakers during the latter's basketball camp here before, continued in his tweet.

Thanks to the triangle, which made the likes of Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa, Bong Hawkins, Sean Chambers, Mark Barroca, LA Tenorio, Joe Devance, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, and Justin Brownlee among others household names in the PBA, Cone became the league's winningest coach in championships.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno