It appears Cone would rather focus on practice.
With its opening outing in the Asian Games scheduled on September 26 against Bahrain, Gilas Pilipinas now has less than two weeks to prepare for the regional hoops tourney.
That’s very little time but lots and lots to do, which is why it is a good thing that the national team was still able to set up a couple of tune-up games even with its limited prep time.
“The one here that we're gonna play on the 22nd is against the Korean club team, the LG Sakers,” Tim Cone told News5’s Martie Bautista when asked about Gilas’ friendlies after the team’s practice on Friday at the PhilSports Arena. “We've played them a number of times with Ginebra in the past and they're always really, really good. And they play the Korean style, so hopefully that will help us prepare for when we have a chance to go against Korea [in the Asian Games].”
The Sakers won’t be the only team that will get to test the Asian Games-bound squad as Gilas, according to Cone, is also scheduled to play a PBA team at Inspire Academy in Laguna.
“I think we're also gonna play one of the PBA teams in Inspire. I think it's Meralco, but I'm not sure yet,” Cone said about Gilas’ other opponent in its lead-up to the quadrennial meet. “I'm not sure if it’s confirmed, but we are gonna play one PBA team in Inspire.”
Regardless, Cone probably doesn’t care. In fact, if he had it his way, he would probably prefer that his team commit its remaining time to practices, which he thinks is more valuable at this point in time.
“We really don't have much time to play a lot of friendly games,” admitted Cone. “To me, the practices are more important than the friendlies or the practice games because we learn more in the practices than the game.”
Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: Gilas is in a race against time with the Asiad just around the corner.
(With reports from Martie Bautista, News5)