Alapag, Uichico joining Gilas Pilipinas as Cone staff for SEA Games

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas has pulled out all the stops for the Southeast Asian Games, not just with its players, but also with its coaching staff. 

National team head coach Tim Cone bared Jimmy Alapag and Jong Uichico will be joining his staff as the Philippines leaves no stone unturned in its bid for an 18th gold medal in the biennial meet. 

According to Cone, Alapag asked to join given his knowledge of the players in the region after coaching two years in the ASEAN Basketball League and was given the go signal by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) sports director Alfrancis Chua. 

Meanwhile, Cone said Uichico – who steered the country to a gold in the 2017 SEA Games – was appointed by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP). 

"We want to make this a collaboration. We don't make this an SMC thing, we don't want to make it a Smart thing. We want to make it a Gilas thing, a Pilipinas thing," Cone said on Saturday, September 28. 

"It kind of represents the collaboration that's going to continue to happen throughout the future – into the next pool, into the next coach, into the long term." 

Building the 15-man pool on 6 of his Barangay Ginebra players, Cone also decided to include old reliable Joe Devance to his staff since he still cannot play in the ongoing PBA Governors' Cup due to a foot injury. 

"He carries big respect from the players, he knows my system probably better than anybody including my assistant coaches because he's been with me for 10 or 11 years," Cone said of Devance. 

"[Devance] also knows how to impart knowledge. He's a good teacher. He's always a guy teaching his teammates in practice." 

Completing the national team coaching staff are all the deputies for Barangay Ginebra, except for Olsen Racela, whom Cone said should keep his focus in the PBA and calling the shots for FEU in the UAAP.

"For me, it's all about how quickly and how efficiently to teach and learn. That will decide our success. So all the teachers I can get, they can help us learn, it's a big deal."

Gilas Pilipinas will begin training on Monday, September 30 – exactly two months before the SEA Games kicks off. –

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.