By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippines’ winningest chief tactician will finally render his services to the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team.
Tim Cone, the architect behind the winning culture of the Alaska Aces, B-Meg (now Magnolia), and the Ginebra San Miguel in a span of 33 years, will serve as Chot Reyes’ assistant in the upcoming FIBA World Cup basketball tournament.
Reyes revealed the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) latest move after a disappointing silver-medal finish during the 2022 Southeast Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam that broke their 13-year gold medal streak.
Moments after the loss against the Indonesian national basketball team, Reyes and the SBP faced harsh criticisms coming from the hoop-crazy Filipino fans and some veteran sports analysts in the country.
“I’m here to form the best team possible, not only the players, but also the coaching staff,” said Reyes during the PBA Press Corps Awards Night.
It was three years ago when Cone had his imprints on the PHL men’s national basketball team after steering them to a gold medal finish during the 2019 SEA Games hosted by our country.
This will also serve as a reunion between two of the best mentors in PHL basketball after going side-by-side during the 1998 Asian Games where Cone became the head coach and Reyes was his assistant.
However, Reyes and the rest of Gilas will have to wait for several months due to Cone’s commitment with Ginebra in the PBA and a reported coaching stint in the upcoming 2022 NBA Summer League.
It was sports analyst Paolo del Rosario who first broke the news and added that Cone will miss four Ginebra games in the PBA and will be replaced by assistant coach Richard del Rosario.
Reyes also said that they will be joined by University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde and sticking alongside them is the current coach of the national team Nenad Vucinic.