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Cone bats for continuity of Gilas Pilipinas program


‘I think continuity is the most important thing for the national team to become successful.’

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA TIM Cone gets recognized by the Philippine Basketball Association Press Corps for leading Gilas Pilipinas to its first Asian Games title in 61 years.

Tim Cone is ready for another tour of duty as head coach of Gilas Pilipinas in upcoming international tournaments.

Cone, who guided the Filipinos to their first Asian Games crown in 61 years, said he is ready to call the shots anew, believing that there should be continuity in the national team program.

“I think continuity is the most important thing for the national team to become successful,” said Cone at the sidelines of the Philippine Basketball Association Press Corps Awards late Monday.

“I’ve always said that 15, 20, 25 years ago.”

Cone said he had already raised that idea when he coached the Centennial Team to a bronze medal in the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998.

“Back in 1998, when I was coaching the Philippine Team, I said that continuity is going to be the most important facet to the success of the program.”

Although the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to decide who will handle Gilas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year, Cone stressed that he is ready to continue the program.

“Now, where will continuity start? I just think that whoever they decide to get, you’re going to have to stick with that guy through thick and thin and not judge it by winning or losing,” said Cone, who took over the coaching helm when Chot Reyes stepped down following the country’s stint in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“But the continuity, I’ve said that so many times, but we still don’t have it, I just really believe it has to be developed in the program and it will be the key to success.”

He emphasized that the Gilas coach should not be judged by immediate results.

“You judge it by the development of the program and keeping that continuity together. It’s a tough job. You’ve seen how hard it is on Chot, on Yeng (Guiao) in the World Cup in 2019. It was even tougher for Tab (Baldwin), who got a lot of flak when the team broke apart. It was a good one, but in the end, it was hard for him as well,” he said, adding that being the national mentor isn’t easy.

“It’s not an easy job. It’s a complex job. We’ll see where it goes from here at this point.”

During the PBAPC Awards, in which he was honored for Gilas’ historic feat in the Hangzhou Games, Cone paid tribute to Reyes, who believed that he has what it takes to lead the Gilas program.

“Thank you to someone who helped me along this journey, especially towards the Asian Games, and that’s Coach Chot. He brought me on to the World Cup team, and that kinda opened up everything for me,” said Cone during his acceptance speech.

“It was a tremendous experience, learning from him, learning from all the coaches we got to be against. That kinda changed my whole perspective on coaching, and I owe it to you, Chot.”

Cone knows that should the SBP decide to appoint a new mentor, he already has an inside track since he is technically still the Gilas mentor.

“I’ll try to help the program anyway I can,” Cone said.

“Whether that’s going to be a reality or not, that hasn’t been spoken of or decided.  As of now, I still believe I’m the interim coach because they haven’t named anybody at this point. I’ll stick with that tag until the bigwigs decide otherwise.”

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