Cone "pleased" that FIBA verdict "wasn't as bad as everybody thought"

Coach Tim Cone felt relieved that the penalties slapped by FIBA on SBP for the Gilas-Australia brawl were not that harsh. Nikki Collantes (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Former Philippine national team coach Tim Cone somehow felt a relief about the weight of the sanctions placed by FIBA to the SBP and Basketball Australia due to the brawl that took place at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue on July 2.

"In some ways, I'm pleased 'coz it looks like it wasn't as bad as I think everybody thought it was gonna be," Cone, who steered the star-studded "Centennial Team" to the 1998 Jones Cup gold and Asian Games bronze, said on Thursday night, hours after FIBA handed the sanctions. "That's good for us, and I'm sure the SBP will work it out now."

In the verdict, Japeth Aguilar, Cone's player at Ginebra, will be suspended for Gilas' next FIBA World Cup Qualifiers game at Iran.

But this could be a blessing in disguise for the six-foot-nine big man as it can fast-track the complete recuperation of the Achilles tendon injury that he got while the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals are ongoing.

Aguilar, who sat out Game 2 of the Barangay's best-of-five series against the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters, was dearly missed as the Barangay suffered a 100-109 loss at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

[Related Story: ROS equalizes series vs Ginebra at resumption of PBA semis]

Cone hinted that Aguilar remains doubtful for Game 3 on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Cone said when asked about the high-flying forward's injury status.

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