FIBA Asia Cup

Cone wants Gilas ‘to stay with the process’ as it aims to reach the Olympics

Delfin Dioquino

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Cone wants Gilas ‘to stay with the process’ as it aims to reach the Olympics

MENTOR. Head coach Tim Cone while calling the shots for Gilas Pilipinas.

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'We want to be thinking about goals, but it’s more important for us to be growth-oriented,' says Tim Cone as Gilas Pilipinas opens its campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines – For Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone, the journey is just as significant as the destination.

Cone underscored the importance of laying down a solid foundation as he looks to steer the national team to greater heights in his four years at the helm – a quest that begins in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Months after guiding the Nationals to a historic Asian Games crown in October, Cone will once again call the shots as the Philippines faces Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei on February 22 and 25, respectively.

“We want to be goal-oriented. We want to be thinking about goals, but it’s more important for us to be growth-oriented,” said Cone on Monday, February 19, in a press conference organized by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

“And to become growth-oriented, we got to stay with the process. And that’s what I hope these guys are getting and will continue to get as their mindset, that they’re process-oriented.”

One of the goals Cone has set for Gilas is ending an over half-a-century absence in the Olympics.

The Philippines last sent a men’s basketball team to the Summer Games in 1972, when the likes of legends Bogs Adornado, Freddie Webb, Manny Paner, Yoyong Martirez, and Danny Florencio donned the national colors.

Cone said the target is to qualify either for the 2024 Paris Olympics in France or the 2028 Los Angeles Games in the United States.

After the first window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, Gilas will get a crack at a Paris berth through the Riga, Latvia leg of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.

“That’s our goal,” said Cone about making the Olympics. “But that’s not our focus. We’re not going to be thinking about that or talking about that as a group.”

“Our focus is what’s going to take us to get there? And that’s that day-to-day process that we’re going to battle. This window here is a part of the process and it’s going to take us forward, get us advanced.”

Beating world No. 78 Chinese Taipei and No. 119 Hong Kong should be a doable task for No. 38 Philippines, and Cone hopes his wards develop good habits.

“Yes, it’s important that we win, but it’s even more important that we build a foundation from which we can bring into the next window and from which we can bring into the next one and the next one after that,” Cone said.

Cone and Gilas fly to Hong Kong on Tuesday. –

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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.