SBP officially names Tim Cone head coach of Gilas

Gilas Pilipinas Men will have Tim Cone as head coach.
Gilas Pilipinas Men will have Tim Cone as head coach.

After his successful stint in the Hangzhou Asian Games, where the Philippines ended its 61-year gold medal drought in men’s basketball, Tim Cone will be given the reins as head coach.

“Coach Tim accomplished what has not been done in decades with only a few weeks to prepare and multiple challenges in terms of personnel so we’re excited to see what he can accomplish with a long-term program in place especially if such program is supported by all basketball stakeholders.” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio said in a news release on Monday.

First up for Cone will be preparing the team that will be seeing action next month for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Gilas will battle Hong Kong on Feb. 22 at the Tsuen Wan Stadium and Chinese Taipei on Feb. 25 at the PhilSports Arena.

The Philippines will also 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 from. This program will be put to test this year and adjustments will be made as necessary,” added SBP Executive Director Erika Dy.

Cone’s winning pedigree is second to none as the winningest coach in PBA history with 25 championships. He is the only two-time PBA Grand Slam winner in the league’s 48-year history.

This will be Cone’s fourth stint as the head coach of the national team. He was at the helm of the storied Centennial Team that won bronze in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. He also led the gold-medal-winning Gilas squad in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

“I’m looking forward to taking on the role of national team head coach again,” said Cone. “I’ve always firmly believed from back in 1998 when I coached the Centennial Team that you’ve got to go out and get the best players in the country to represent us. We all have different opinions on who the best players are but we’re confident we picked the best players who will form the best team.”

Cone has selected 12 players who will be part of his core. PBA players Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, and June Mar Fajardo, Japanese B-League imports Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Carl Tamayo, and Kai Sotto, and UAAP champion Kevin Quiambao will be the 11 locals.

Justin Brownlee will take the naturalized player spot, pending FIBA’s decision regarding his eligibility in upcoming tournaments.

Joining Cone will be Richard Del Rosario as Gilas Pilipinas Men team manager. (PNA)

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