FIBA Asia Cup

‘Long ways to go’: Cone still sees room for improvement after Gilas rout

Delfin Dioquino

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‘Long ways to go’: Cone still sees room for improvement after Gilas rout

COMMAND. Head coach Tim Cone in action for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2024 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.


Coach Tim Cone sees both the good and the bad in Gilas Pilipinas' 30-point demolition of Hong Kong at the start of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

HONG KONG – The perfectionist that he is, coach Tim Cone sees plenty of room for improvement even after Gilas Pilipinas’ dominant debut in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

‘Long ways to go’: Cone still sees room for improvement after Gilas rout

The Philippines’ 94-64 demolition of host Hong Kong on Thursday, February 22, showed Cone both the good and the bad as they aim to build for the future with more important games coming up.

Expected to coast to a lopsided win, world No. 38 Philippines struggled to pull away early as Hong Kong punched above the weight of its No. 119 ranking as it trailed by just two possessions, 37-41, at the end of the first half.

“First half, everybody was tentative, everybody was trying hard but they were tentative, and we were missing shots we should have made,” Cone told Filipino reporters here.

“We were a little over-extended defensively, just all the things we weren’t supposed to be doing, we were doing in the first half. I just couldn’t get our minds settled and on the game itself.”

“I think it’s just that first game jitters playing together.”

The Filipinos, though, turned things around after the break and opened the floodgates behind a 30-9 blast in the third quarter.

Forcing the hosts to miss 12 of their 15 shots and cough up 5 turnovers in the third period, the Philippines turned defense into offense to build a commanding 71-46 lead.

When the dust settled, four players scored in double figures for the Filipinos: Justin Brownlee (16), Kevin Quiambao (15), Kai Sotto (13), and Jamie Malonzo (11).

“That’s more of what we want from this team – to create more offense from our defense, not just trying to come up and take quick shots. In that regard, the second half was better,” said Cone.

“But it’s obvious to anybody, I think we have a long ways to go.”

A more fearsome foe awaits Gilas Pilipinas as it hosts Chinese Taipei at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig on Sunday, February 25, to close out the first window.

Chinese Taipei, which finished fourth in the last Asian Games which the Philippines ruled, is determined for a bounce-back win after dropping its Asia Cup Qualifiers opener by way of an 89-69 loss to New Zealand.

“We need to play a lot, lot better than we did tonight,” said Cone. –

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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.