Next Gilas Pilipinas coach remains a question mark

Delfin Dioquino
Gilas Pilipinas has yet to tap even an interim coach for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February

COACHING SEARCH. There's a small chance that Tim Cone might call the shots for Gilas Pilipinas anew. File photo by Jerrick Reymarc/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – It’s still a guessing game as to who will call the shots for Gilas Pilipinas in future international tournaments.

Even the interim coach who will guide the Philippines team in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February has yet to be determined by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

“We haven’t identified a coach. Maybe in the first window, it will be an interim, but he will not be the permanent coach,” SBP president Al Panlilio said in a mix of Filipino and English on Saturday, January 4. 

Panlilio said the interim coach may be picked from the 12 PBA coaches. 

“The interim are the coaches in the PBA. I think it has to be a full-time coach at the end of the day,” Panlilio said. 

“Maybe the interim is one of the existing coach we know today who will just do it for the window. But for us, from an SBP point of view, we need to appoint a full-time coach for the program.” 

That means Tim Cone, who won a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, might still be in consideration for the job, although it had been made clear his stint in the regional meet was just a stop-gap setup. 

“Now, he is also busy with the finals,” Panlilio said of Cone, whose Barangay Ginebra will face Meralco for the championship in the PBA Governors’ Cup. 

While there is clamor to hand the coaching reins of the national team back to Tab Baldwin, Panlilio clarified the three-time UAAP champion mentor of the Ateneo Blue Eagles is just helping out Gilas Pilipinas. 

“I don’t think he’s interested to coach, but he wants to be part of the development of the program,” Panlilio said of Baldwin. 

For now, Panlilio and the SBP seek to fast-track the process of deciding Gilas Pilipinas’ permanent coach just in time for the second window in November. 

“We need to have a real search. I have been getting a lot of applications and feelers. We’ll put it together and Ricky Vargas is asking to help me with the search,” he said. 

“Hopefully, we can tap on some firms that can help us with the search aside from people who are already applying.” 

Gilas Pilipinas will face Thailand on February 20 to kick of the first window before tangling with Indonesia on February 23. Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.