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Cone stays focused on Ginebra

Despite a possible stint with Gilas Pilipinas, Tim Cone remains focused on leading Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to another title in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Cone, who coached Gilas to their first Asian Games crown in 61 years last October, said he is not yet looking at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in which the Filipinos will shoot for a slot in the Summer Games in Paris next year.

Set from 2 to 7 July in Riga, Latvia, the Philippines was bracketed with Latvia and Georgia for a chance to make it to the Olympics for the first time since 1972.

Cone is being floated to be the Gilas head coach following his impressive performance in the Asian Games, but the 65-year-old American mentor said his main priority is to lead the Kings to another title in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.

Right now, Cone is doing a good job as the Kings have won three of their first four games despite the absence of import Justin Brownlee, who tested positive for banned substance in the aftermath of the Asian Games.

Brownlee is still waiting for the sanction of the International Basketball Federation, but the Ginebra management decided to sit him out in favor of another former import in Tony Bishop.

“My total focus is on Ginebra,” said Cone, who earlier stressed that he is technically still the head coach of Gilas since the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to formally name his replacement.

He added that the federation has yet to reach out to him regarding his future despite being linked to the coaching job.

“At this point, there are no ongoing talks yet,” he said.

“There’s been conversation regarding the possibility, but my understanding is that they are looking at all possibilities.”

SBP president Al Panlilio earlier told Daily Tribune that all options are on the table. He, however, clarified that they have yet to plot the team that will compete in the OQT.

“They’re trying to see how they can manipulate player preparations, player availability, who’s gonna coach, they’re still trying to figure out all that now,” Cone said.

“To my understanding, they’re going to get the PBA, the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines), the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), all the stakeholders and try to form a plan, not only for this year, but also for the World Cup in 2027, so I think that’s where it stands right now.”

“There’s no word on who’s gonna coach, what we’re going to do. I haven’t been formally asked. I don’t know if I will, but if I am, those discussions are still up in the air.”

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