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MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas has taken pages out of the Miami Heat book.
Assistant coach Tim Cone said his time with the Heat has come in handy as the national team draws inspiration from the three-time NBA champion franchise in its buildup for the FIBA World Cup.
Cone joined the Miami coaching staff for the NBA Summer League last year, picking up valuable lessons after getting a first-hand experience of the famed Heat culture.
“We have brought a lot of things, especially techniques, that I observed, and we brought that to the Gilas team,” Cone told One News’ Thought Leaders with Cathy Yang program. “We have kind of changed the way we defend.”
“They’re a really get-up-in-your-face kind of team. I actually haven’t been that way, but I learned to be a little bit more like that. We brought it to Gilas and Chot (Reyes) has really embraced it as well. We learned from them.”
When the World Cup tips off in August, Gilas looks to defy the odds just like what Miami has done in the current NBA season.
Clinching the last playoff berth in the Eastern Conference after surviving the play-in tournament, the Heat became the first No. 8 seed since the 1999 New York Knicks to reach the NBA Finals.
Miami stunned No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, toppled No. 5 Knicks in the second round, and outlasted No. 2 Boston Celtics in the East finals to set up a championship duel with West top seed Denver Nuggets.
In the World Cup, the Philippines – ranked No. 40 in the world – eyes a top-two finish in Group A against No. 10 Italy, No. 23 Dominican Republic, and No. 41 Angola to advance to the next round.
“The Heat is such a character-driven organization, they base everything on what they call Heat culture,” said Cone.
“Everything they do, the discipline that they have, it’s really phenomenal, it’s almost off the charts. They’ve always been known as one of the best or premier defensive teams in the league.”
“They take defense first, they play defense first, which goes right along with my own personal philosophy. It was just really beautiful for me to be a part of that process.”
Starting its training camp on Wednesday, June 7, the national team is set for a European trip to face teams from Estonia, Finland, and Lithuania in a series of tuneup games over the next two months. – Rappler.com