The national team infuses more of the Never Say Die attitude.
Gilas Pilipinas is welcoming a familiar face, more importantly, an accomplished name, to fill its coaching vacancy.
PBA’s winningest tactician and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel mentor Tim Cone is moving up the Gilas Pilipinas coaching ranks, from assistant coach to head coach, for the upcoming Asian Games. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement on Thursday.
Cone, who served as Gilas deputy coach for the FIBA World Cup, is taking on the role recently vacated by Chot Reyes. The longtime Gilas drillmaster has decided to step down after being the subject of vitriol among Filipino fans as the national team notched a 1-4 win-loss record in FIBA’s flagship tournament.
Coach Tim’s long list of achievements includes 25 PBA championships (two grand slams), four PBA Coach of the Year trophies, and a gold medal from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
History is also on Cone’s side as he embarks on this Asian Games campaign. He coached the 1998 Centennial Team that brought home bronze, which was the last time that the country's basketball squad snatched a medal in the regional meet.
Ginebra deputy Richard del Rosario is also joining Cone on the staff, alongside FIBA World Cup staffers Jong Uichico and Josh Reyes. Veteran point guard LA Tenorio is also joining as assistant coach on the squad.
The Ginebra coach earlier said that he wasn’t interested in the Gilas coaching job, expressing support for then coach Reyes, but has now made a U-turn to answer the call of duty.
Cone is expected to lead a team headlined by the still recovering Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame, who can both play as locals as the Asian Games organizers only require a passport from aspiring players. This is in contrast to the stricter FIBA rules, where both cagers would qualify as naturalized players.
The Asian Games, which will take place in Hangzhou, China, is set to start on the 23rd of September. A short window for preps won’t be a walk in the park, but Gilas has the man for the job in Coach Tim.