AFTER steering Gilas Pilipinas to Asian Games glory in Hangzhou, China, Tim Cone has strengthened his status as a popular choice among hoops-crazy Filipinos for the coaching position moving forward.
While he couldn’t readily say yay or nay right now, the four-time PBA Press Corps Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan Coach of the Year awardee said he’s open to assuming the job permanently.
But that is, if the pieces fit.
“It’s a very complex question. It doesn’t deserve a simple yes or no,” said Mr. Cone, who took on the role of Gilas interim mentor after his boss Chot Reyes stepped aside at the end of their FIBA World Cup campaign.
He stressed “there’s a lot of things that need to happen in terms of the planning, coming together of the PBA, SBP and other stakeholders” before he could answer the million-dollar question on a lot of aficionados’ minds.
“For me to answer that question without knowing all that stuff is not fair to the program itself,” he said.
“Am I open to it? Certainly, I’m open to it. I’m always open to the challenges of doing something that spectacular but again, the forces have to be right to be able to jump into the storm.
“We just can’t say up top ‘sure I’ll do it. We really have to study, bring everybody together and figure out where the direction is going to go. And I think that’s really the key. We have to figure out the direction, vision and once we do that, then we can decide who should lead it.”
Gilas will hit the court next in the first window of the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers slated in February. Unless the The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) names another coach by then, Mr. Cone will likely still be in charge.
“There’s no word on who’s going to coach or what they’re going to do. I haven’t been formally asked or advised yet and I don’t know if I will. But if I am, those discussions are still up in the air. But as of now, I guess I’m still the interim coach until they hire somebody else,” said Mr. Cone. — Olmin Leyba