A move that many expected, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has appointed Tim Cone to coach Gilas Pilipinas in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, per reports on Monday.
Cone returns to the national team for the first time since he steered the Filipino dribblers to a bronze medal finish in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok.
Still, the PBA’s winningest coach has stated this will be his only stint with Gilas. He will not be the one to take over the program on a permanent basis.
“I understand fully that if I take the position, it’s just a stop-gap position. It’s not commitment to the Gilas head coaching,” said Cone on Sunday after the Barangay Ginebra’s 102-83 win over Alaska in the 2019 Governors’ Cup.
“It’s just that the SEA Games is coming in quick, [so] they want someone to step up and do it. So I could very easily be a one-and-done guy. Just go and coach the SEA Games, that’s it,” he said.
Cone also said that he’s “perfectly okay” with a one-time setup, if it will help the federation while it searches for a permanent coach to oversee the program.
“With me coaching, that will give them time to put their search committee together and find the guy they really want to coach [until] I guess 2023,” said the 60-year-old bench tactician.
The federation approached Cone while they were in search of a replacement for Yeng Guiao, who resigned from the position after a winless FIBA World Cup campaign.
Cone made that invitation publicly known on Saturday. Then just this Sunday, San Miguel Corp. sports director and Barangay Ginebra governor Al Chua gave his full blessing.
The regional meet begins at the end of November. Still, plans are not yet final for the national team — from the pool of players from which Cone will choose, to the time frame of the team’s preparation.
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