By REYNALD MAGALLON
Gilas Pilipinas mentor Chot Reyes found an ally in Ginebra head coach Tim Cone amid the public scrutiny on the national team’s lackluster performance in its recent tournaments.
Asked to comment about Gilas during his post-game presser following the Kings’ 100-93 victory over Phoenix Fuel Masters on Thursday, July 21, Cone said the high expectations for the national team are unfair and not realistic’ especially at this point when Gilas is still on its evaluation period of its preparations for the 2023 World Cup.
“I’ve looked at it in a way that this is an evaluation period. We’ve already assured our spot in the World Championships so why put all of it in right now? If you’re Ron Jacobs, Ron Jacobs would never show his whole hand before you play. I mean this early at this time” said Cone.
“For me, it’s more of an evaluation and like a tryout to see who’s playing at this point,” added the multi-titled mentor.
Cone noted that Gilas hasn’t really played a fixed and intact roster in the recent tournaments which according to the Ginebra coach, is a way to see which player is suitable for the national team in the World Cup next year.
“They’re just getting ready and trying different guys. I think Bobby Ray Parks played for the first time the last time, they played without Dwight Ramos so you get an idea what it might be like playing without Dwight. June Mar (Fajardo) didn’t play this time as opposed to the SEA Games so it’s a real mix of teams,” noted Cone who is also set to take part in the national team as an assistant coach to Reyes in the World Cup.
“So for us to have these high expectations that we’re gonna go out and play this great basketball right now I think it’s kind of unfair and not realistic at this point,” he stressed.
Cone also echoed Reyes’ sentiments to reserve the judgment in the World Cup because that’s where the real game is, even noting that winning in FIBA-tournaments outside the World Cup are just all for ‘pogi points’
“Winning right now are all pogi points to me,” said Cone. “The real stuff is still ahead of us when they formed the whole coaching staff, when they formed the whole team and when we can all start moving forward and I just don’t think we are at that part right now.”