Asian Games

Why did Tim Cone agree to take Gilas job?

Philip Matel

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Why did Tim Cone agree to take Gilas job?

MENTOR. Tim Cone in action as part of Gilas Pilipinas' coaching staff.


Tim Cone returns as Gilas Pilipinas head coach as he takes on the task of leading the national team to a medal in the Asian Games

MANILA, Philippines – Interim Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone reneged on his earlier pronouncements of not wanting to coach the national team at the wake of predecessor Chot Reyes’ exit.

None other than San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief executive officer Ramon Ang convinced him to take the job.

“You can say no to a lot of people. But I tell you what, you can’t say no to RSA,” Cone said during his introductory press conference.

“The way he asked is too special.”

According to SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua, the billionaire told him to convince Cone to take the job as a “call of duty.”

Cone emerged as the lone candidate after a special board meeting between PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, and PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and vice chairman Bobby Rosales.

They discussed things at the Makati Diamond Residences last September 4 after Reyes stepped aside following Gilas’ campaign in the FIBA World Cup, as well as seeing the likelihood of a roster overhaul.

Since the Asiad is not a FIBA-sanctioned event, NBA players are barred from participating, while other domestic leagues are not required to field in their players.

Because of this, Jordan Clarkson, Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, and Kiefer Ravena, among others, are already out of consideration for the roster.

World Cup holdovers Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, and Roger Pogoy, together with naturalized player Justin Brownlee, lead a 13-man roster also featuring returnees Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo.

With time winding down and with Reyes’ explicit blessing, Cone decided to accept the job.

“I joined the World Cup team. I signed for the obvious [reasons] of giving back to the country, given my family, given my livelihood, my wife, my kids,” explained Cone.

“That’s always the number one thing why you serve your country,” he continued.

It will be Cone’s third tour of duty coaching the Philippines and his second in the Asian Games.

The American mentor first coached the Nationals during the 1998 Asian Games, where they finished third in Bangkok.

Narrative, however, will be much different this time, as he has just two weeks to prepare a hastily-formed team, compared to the four months and foreign forays the Philippine Centennial Team had.

That team won the 1998 William Jones Cup and went to the United States for a string of exhibition games.

He last piloted the team in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019 hosted in Manila, where Gilas breezed through an undefeated run to the gold medal. –

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