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Cone: We take nothing for granted

Tim Cone and Gilas Pilipinas are not taking their foes lightly in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. | Photograph COURTESY OF SBP

Expect Gilas Pilipinas to go hard when it competes in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Gilas coach Tim Cone said they will put their game faces on against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei in the first window of the qualifiers set in Hong Kong and Pasig City next week.

Cone is leaving no stone unturned in coming up with a solid team.

Composed of a deadly brew of Philippine Basketball Association players, collegiate standout and Japan-based standouts, Gilas Pilipinas kicked off its preparation with a series of closed-door training sessions at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.

Save for San Miguel Beer stars June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, everybody was in attendance, including naturalized player Justin Brownlee and injured slotman AJ Edu, proving that the squad is determined to put on a show in the prestigious event that serves as a gateway to the continental meet that will be held in Saudi Arabia next year.

Cone said they will not be complacent, knowing that Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei have what it takes to pull off an earth-shaking upset.

“We take nothing for granted,” said Cone, owner of 25 titles in the PBA.

Ranked No. 119 in the latest International Basketball Federation ranking, Hong Kong has yet to announce its official roster but sideliners claim that it will parade some quality players from China as well as Hong Kong-Canadian star Duncan Reid, who played against Cone and Barangay Ginebra in the finals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last year.

Gilas and Hong Kong are set to collide on Thursday at the Tsuen Wan Stadium in Hong Kong.

The Taiwanese, for their part, will be bannered by naturalized player Mohammad al Bachir Gadiaga, the reigning Rookie of the Year in the T1 League, together with Taiwanese-American William Artino.

Chinese Taipei, which is at No. 78 in the FIBA ranking, is looking to advance to the Asia Cup to match its fourth-place finish when the Filipinos hosted the event in 2013.

Gilas and Chinese Taipei will collide on 26 February at the Philsports Arena.

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