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2024 Summer Olympics

With Scottie Thompson out, Tim Cone looks to Dwight Ramos for backcourt leadership

With Gilas Pilipinas heading to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga with an 11-man roster, the biggest question now is who will be the team’s primary ball handler with Scottie Thompson out.

Head coach Tim Cone provided the answer on Monday evening after the Philippines beat the Taiwan Mustangs in a send-off friendly game, 74-64.

“We’re looking at Dwight Ramos now. He played the wing for us when we had Scottie, but we moved him to the backcourt. He gives us great size, and he’s still capable of scoring in that position,” said Cone.

However, the decorated coach was quick to note that in the system he has used throughout his storied career, there’s really no “pure” point guard.

Gilas-vs.-Taiwan-Cjay-Perez With Scottie Thompson out, Tim Cone looks to Dwight Ramos for backcourt leadership 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

Cone also mentioned Chris Newsome and CJ Perez as potential players who can share ball-handling duties for the Nationals when they play in the Riga, Latvia OQT scheduled from July 2 to 7.

Gilas is grouped with the host nation Latvia and Georgia in Pool A, while Brazil, Cameroon, and Montenegro compose Pool B.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout crossover semifinals. The winner of the tournament will earn a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“We don’t play a pure point guard system; we’ve used the triangle over the years. Even LA was not a pure point guard in our system, and Johnny Abarrientos wasn’t a pure point guard in our system either,” said Cone.

“We feel Dwight’s capable. Newsome is obviously very capable, and I’m really pleasantly surprised with CJ. CJ is handling and seeing our offense really well,” he added.

In the tune-up game at the Philsports Arena, which was open to the public for free, it was Justine Brownlee who contributed significantly to the Nationals’ 25 assists, dishing out 15.

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Meanwhile, Newsome also had six.

Cone emphasized that he does not consider his 11-man lineup “short-handed” but acknowledged that having Thompson would have made a difference.

FIBA-Asia-Cup-Q-Japhet-Aguilar-Scottie-Thompson-3144 With Scottie Thompson out, Tim Cone looks to Dwight Ramos for backcourt leadership 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

“I really, really miss Scottie. You all know how much I rely on Scottie; he’s such an infectious player, and he inspires the guys around him. He does all the things that don’t show up on the scorecard,” said the winningest coach in PBA history.

“It’s not that we can’t find a replacement for him, it’s just that we’re missing him. Anybody we get is not going to replace Scottie; that’s just a fact of life. While we don’t feel shorthanded, we talked it out with the 11 guys, and they are 11 strong and all okay.”

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Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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