SBP OFFICIALLY APPOINTS TIM CONE AS HEAD COACH OF GILAS PILIPINAS
FOLLOWING his triumphant role in the Hangzhou Asian Games, where the Philippines ended a 61-year gold medal drought in men's basketball, Tim Cone has been officially named as the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas.
FOLLOWING his triumphant role in the Hangzhou Asian Games, where the Philippines ended a 61-year gold medal drought in men’s basketball, Tim Cone has been officially named as the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas.
“Coach Tim accomplished what hasn’t been done in decades, with only a few weeks of preparation and multiple challenges in terms of personnel. We’re excited to see what he can accomplish with a long-term program in place, especially if such a program is supported by all basketball stakeholders,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio in a news release on Monday.
Cone’s initial task will be to prepare the team for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, scheduled for next month. Gilas will face Hong Kong on Feb. 22 at Tsuen Wan Stadium and Chinese Taipei on Feb. 25 at the PhilSports Arena.
The Philippines is also set to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament from July 2 to 7 in Latvia.
“Earlier this month, Coach Tim presented his plans to local leagues from which players will likely be selected. This program will be put to the test this year, and adjustments will be made as necessary,” added SBP Executive Director Erika Dy.
Cone boasts an impressive winning record as the most successful coach in PBA history, securing 25 championships and being the only two-time PBA Grand Slam winner in the league’s 48-year history.
This marks Cone’s fourth stint as the head coach of the national team, having previously led the Centennial Team to bronze in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games and guided the gold-medal-winning Gilas squad in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“I’m looking forward to taking on the role of the national team head coach again,” said Cone. “I’ve always firmly believed that you’ve got to go out and get the best players in the country to represent us. We’re confident we’ve picked the best players who will form the best team.”
Gilas’ ACQ pool revealed amid uncertainties
The SBP also announced the 12 players called up to the Gilas pool for the FIBA ACQ February window.
Players like Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, Justin Brownlee, and Jamie Malonzo, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, Meralco’s Chris Newsome, and TNT’s Calvin Oftana have been selected from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Backing them up are Japan B League Asian imports Dwight Ramos of Hokkaido, AJ Edu of Toyama, Kai Sotto of Yokohama, and free agent Carl Tamayo. Reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player and Dubai International Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team member Kevin Quiambao completes the 12.
However, uncertainties surround Brownlee, Edu, and Malonzo regarding their inclusion in the pool.
Brownlee is currently serving a provisional suspension after testing positive for a prohibited substance after Gilas’ Asian Games championship. The duration of the suspension has not been disclosed, and his inclusion in the pool is contingent on FIBA’s decision.
“[FIBA’s] decision can come down sometime this week that will hopefully free him up for the window,” Cone said.
Meanwhile, both Malonzo and Edu are on the injury list. Edu tore his meniscus last November and has yet to return to action, while Malonzo suffered a knee injury in Game 3 of the Ginebra-San Miguel series with an unknown diagnosis.
Gilas will face Hong Kong on the road on Feb. 22 before hosting Chinese Taipei on Feb. 25 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.