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SBP names Tim Cone as new Gilas Pilipinas head coach

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Coach Tim Cone during the 19th Asian Games as Gilas Pilipinas interim head coach
Tim Cone during his coaching stint for Gilas Pilipinas in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China where the Philippines ended its 61-year gold medal drought in the competition. PHOTO: PSC/Facebook
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) formally announced on Monday, January 29, the appointment of Ginebra mentor Tim Cone as the new head coach of the Philippine men's national basketball team – famously known as Gilas Pilipinas.
In a statement, SBP President Al Panlilio said: "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."
Richard Del Rosario will join Cone as Gilas team manager. SBP and Cone, meanwhile, are yet to disclose the new assistant coach.
Cone permanently took over from his good friend, Chot Reyes, who resigned after the Philippines overcame China in their final game in the 2023 FIBA World Cup in early September.
In last year's 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Cone led Gilas to end the country's 61-year gold medal drought in the continental showpiece despite parading a hastily formed lineup and limited preparation time.
Locally, Cone is considered one of the greatest coaches of all time in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) history by winning 25 championships and two Grand Slam titles with Alaska in 1996 and San Mig Coffee in 2014. He also claimed five Coach of the Year plums.
Coach Tim also once coached the nationals before and helped them achieve podium finishes. Under his guidance, the Centennial Team bagged a bronze in the 1998 Bangkok Asiad while leading Gilas to a dominant gold medal run in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
"I'm looking forward to taking on the role of national team head coach again," Cone told on Sunday after his Gin Kings got swept by San Miguel Beermen in their best-of-five semifinal series in the ongoing PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Cone's coaching duties will begin by preparing Gilas for the upcoming first window of the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this February, with the Filipino cagers taking on Hong Kong on the 22nd at the Tsuen Wan Stadium and Chinese Taipei on the 25th at the PhilSports Arena.
The second window will be staged late in November this year.
On July 2 – 7, Cone and his wards will fly to Riga, Latvia to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Speaking of the qualifying stages, the 66-year-old tactician chose 12 players to form the core of his team.
"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."
The revamped roster includes PBA players Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, and June Mar Fajardo. Joining them are Japan's B. League imports Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Carl Tamayo, and Kai Sotto.
Also included was Kevin Quiambao from reigning UAAP champion De La Salle University. Quiambao, who received a naturalization offer from the United Arab Emirates, flashed his exemplary play in the recently concluded 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship for silver medalist Strong Group Athletics. He was the top scorer for SGA – boasted ex-National Basketball Association stars Dwight Howard and Andre Roberson.
Taking the naturalized player spot was Justin Brownlee, with FIBA's decision still pending regarding his eligibility in upcoming tournaments after getting suspended due to a failed doping test in the wake of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Changes in the list are expected in the coming days, with some players nursing injuries, particularly Malonzo and Edu.

Last Modified: 2024-Jan-30 11.00.00 UTC+0800