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Tim Cone names Final 12 for Gilas Pilipinas

by Bryan Gadingan

THE SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas has officially declared that Tim Cone, the most successful strategist from Barangay Ginebra, will once again lead Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 season and beyond.

On Monday, SBP President Al Panlilio formally announced Cone as the team’s new head coach. The strategist led Gilas in the 19th Asian Games and the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, where they won gold medals. 

Photo Courtesy: Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas – SBP | Facebook

“Coach Tim accomplished what has not been done in decades with only a few weeks to prepare and multiple challenges in terms of personnel,” said Panlilio, explaining why Cone was chosen as the successor. 

“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,” he said.

Behind Cone is his long-time Ginebra assistant Richard del Rosario, who will work closely with him as Gilas’ squad manager. SBP and Cone have yet to determine who will round out the coaching staff.

The Ginebra coach revealed Sunday night, before the official announcement, that he was looking forward to the possibility of being named the permanent Gilas coach.

“If they choose me, I am looking forward to it,” remarked Cone after being eliminated by the San Miguel Beermen in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.

Along with this statement, Cone has already picked his final 12, which includes a mix of PBA youth and veterans, providing a more talented lineup to represent the country.

The winningest coach in PBA history earlier said there were already discussions about him becoming the long-time national team mentor, as well as offering his thoughts on how the pool and roster should be created.

“You gotta figure out a way to get the stakeholders to allow you to get the best players to allow you to get the best players in the country,” said Cone.

“Including the PBA, and the Japan and the Korea [Filipino imports], and allow them to give you the time to work with these guys,” he told reporters in a separate interview.

Photo Courtesy: Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas – SBP | Facebook

Everything seemed to have gone according to plan, since the new Gilas pool includes outside arrivals Dwight Ramos, Carl Tamayo, Kai Sotto and AJ Edu.

They will be joined by UAAP Season 86 MVP Kevin Quiambao, who has recently returned after a spectacular stay with Strong Group, as well as PBA talents June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, and naturalized player Justin Brownlee.

They are likely to crank up their practices soon as the first window of the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers will take place in late February. 

Gilas will face Hong Kong on February 22 at Tsuen Wan Stadium, and Chinese Taipei on February 25 at the PhilSports Arena. 

Gilas will also compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Latvia, which runs from July 2 to 7.

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