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MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas has been on a historic upward trend in recent months, and the powers that be don’t want to lose track of that hard-earned momentum.
That much was clear during the 2024 Philippine Sportswriters Association awards night on Monday, January 29, as officially appointed head coach Tim Cone made his first appearance since the complete plan was announced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
“The one thing we’ve always talked about with the Gilas national team is we don’t have a sure level of continuity,” he said.
“Just back in the ’90s, Sonny [Jaworski] coached, then it was Norman [Black], then it was me, then it was Yeng [Guiao], then it was Chot [Reyes]. It was just one thing after another, so we’re hoping to use the windows we have to grow the team. That’s the idea.”
Fresh off winning a historic Asian Games gold medal – the national team’s first in 61 years – Cone now locks in for the next four years with a 12-man core bannered by a healthy mix of veterans like PBA MVPs June Mar Fajardo and Scottie Thompson, and high-level prospects like UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao.
Cone, the winningest coach in PBA history with 25 championships, will have his first test as permanent coach late in February as the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ first window rolls around.
“They’re an experienced group, they play at a really high level. We’re not going to ask for a lot of preparation time. We feel like each window will prepare us for the next window, and the idea is over three or four years, we should be doing all these windows together and keep the continuity going,” he said.
Gilas will head first to Hong Kong on February 22 before returning home to face Chinese Taipei on February 25 at the PhilSports Arena.
The two other windows will be played in November and in February 2025.
“Having the same system, the same players, getting to know each other better and better, they’ll reach their full potential after three or four years,” Cone concluded. – Rappler.com