With five more new faces to integrate into his system and a shrinking window to do just that, Tim Cone’s job to prime Gilas Pilipinas for the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) has become much, much tougher.
His confidence, however, remains unchanged.
“It doesn’t change our approach to how we do things. Our goal is still to try and win a gold medal,” the interim national coach told a pair of reporters on Tuesday.
“That’s always gonna be our goal. We’re not going out there thinking silver or bronze, we’re gonna go out there looking for a gold,” he went on.
Gilas Pilipinas is holding its breath on the availability of Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Terrence Romeo and Mo Tautuaa as they are not included in a new list that the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee is currently using as a reference.
CJ Perez, Chris Ross, Arvin Tolentino and Kevin Alas were called up as contingency measures for the four who have been hard at training with Cone at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna province. Marcio Lassiter, meanwhile, steps in for Roger Pogoy who withdrew from the campaign due to a medical condition.
A resolution is expected to be known in the coming days, or right before the contingent leaves for Hangzhou, China.
For now, Cone is just glad that a Plan B has been put into motion as he can now focus on the things that matter.
“Our focus is our process. It’s what we did this practice, it’s what we do next practice,” he said. “For me, personally, how do I put out all the fires that’s coming out? One fire at a time … This is one of the things we wanna deal with, the lineup. And to the public, being transparent, letting them know what’s going on. That was one of the fires we wanted to put out.”
“The next fire is I got a lot of guys in practice so I got to figure out how to teach the guys who just came up and still continuing to teach the guys who have been there and keep them going,” he added.
Cone is bracing for disjointed practices, and rightfully so. The reinforcements have just joined the camp in Laguna, and he feels that it will take time for them to get a good feel of what this edition of the national five is going to put forth. But he is keeping the faith.
“When we play together, it’s [going to be] very disruptive, because a lot of the guys don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know the plays, they don’t know the movements,” he said.
“Good news is Inspire has many courts so we can put guys on this court; some guys are on that court. And it’s good that the guys in question are still with us to help us put the new guys [in the loop],” he added.
Also keeping Cone’s optimism high is that the five newcomers are really no strangers.
Lassiter, Ross, Tolentino and Perez all served with him in the gold-medal reclaiming Gilas squad in the Southeast Asian Games last summer. Alas’ basketball smarts being a coach’s son, meanwhile, would allow him to pick up schemes and tactics with ease.
“Defensively, I think we’re gonna be OK, we’re not going to lose too much. Offensively we’ve got a lot to catch up for,” he said.
“Hopefully, we’ll catch these guys up a little bit. It won’t happen by the time we play the Koreans. I thought we’ll be really up there when we play the Koreans and we could put on a good show. Now I’m not so sure. But we’re gonna get there and that’s our goal.” INQ
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